Case Study The European Political Community
Europe is launching a new political community called the European Political Community.
Its significance is rather uncertain as it's unclear how well the group will work.
If it continues, however, the EPC could be a way for the U.K. and EU to improve thorny post-Brexit relations.
The EPC was proposed by the French president Emmanuel Macron in May 2022 after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in his role as the president of the Council of the European Union (EU). On 23–24 June 2022, he officially presented it at the meeting of the European Council. The group convened on 6 October 2022; leaders of 44 states posed for a group photo. Russia and Belarus were deliberately excluded from participation.
The vision for the European Political Community (EPC), a brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron, was to improve cooperation between EU countries and non-members such as the UK, Turkey, the Western Balkans, and the Caucasus region.
meeting is the message
Russia was not invited to the gathering at Prague Castle along with Belarus, its neighbour and supporter in the war against Ukraine.
Although leaders struggled to maintain a fully united front throughout the meeting, for diplomats, the presence of so many European countries was the main message.
“We have very clearly displayed the unity of 44 European leaders in condemning Russian aggression and expressing support for Ukraine,” Macron told reporters after the summit.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the forum “confirms that Russia is in complete isolation.”
The aim of the EPC is to provide a policy coordination platform for European countries across the continent and to foster political dialogue and cooperation in order to address issues of common interest, so as to strengthen the security, stability and prosperity of the European continent, in particular in regard to the European energy crisis. In addition to EU member states, the EPC also includes countries such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iceland, Moldova, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
During the first summit, it was agreed that a European Union led mission would be deployed on the Armenian side of the border with Azerbaijan for a period of two months of monitoring following the Armenia–Azerbaijan border crisis.
On 29 September 2022, the United Kingdom announced that it would attend the meeting, and offered to host the next meeting. Moldova will hold the next meeting, and topics on which leaders agreed to work on include protecting "key facilities" such as pipelines, undersea cables, and satellites.
Expectations are modest. Other existing alliances and institutions, including Nato, the International Monetary Fund, the UN’s Cop27 summit and the EU are better placed and resourced to deal with particular challenges. The EPC must not duplicate or distract from these, but it could supplement them.
The pressing issue was the energy market. Russia’s war and its manipulation of oil and gas supplies have driven an energy price crisis across and beyond Europe. This has been seriously exacerbated this week by the Opec+ oil-production cartel’s decision to cut production in order to drive up prices still further.
If Liz Truss then PM and the UK of Rishi Sunak really wants better relationships with Europe. It sent a good signal, long overdue. But it is only a small start. It might be matched by other actions across government, starting with working more closely with France over migrant boats, and calming the Northern Ireland protocol dispute so that power-sharing can resume.