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In Prague, the “European Political Community” on trial

Usually, European summits bring together 27 participants, namely the states of the European Union (EU). But Thursday, October 6, at Prague Castle, in the Czech Republic, for the first meeting of the “European Political Community”, they were 44.

The Twenty-Seven were there, as were their neighbours, like the countries of the Western Balkans, the United Kingdom, Norway or Turkey. At the end of an afternoon of talks and a working dinner, President Emmanuel Macron did not hide his satisfaction, rejoicing to see “a very old idea collectively becoming a reality”.

Lack of transparency

As soon as he arrived at the top, he already evoked a “significant moment”which testifies to“a message of unity (…) for all Europeans, whether or not they are members of the EU”. Obviously, if the French president was so convinced by this new discussion forum, it is because the idea came from him. He had mentioned it on May 9, for Europe Day. Result: in the family photo, the “father” of the “CPE” (this is how it was nicknamed) is in the front row, right in the middle. “In less than six months, we organized a summit, and all the guests agreed to participate, it’s not nothing”launches a European source, also convinced of the merits of this new exercise.

On the other hand, transparency was not really there. To get an idea of ​​the content of the discussions within this “club of 44” (which could also evolve, with additional participation, but also, potentially, defections), it was necessary to reconstruct a giant puzzle on the basis of the various declarations of the leaders and diplomats who were able to attend the exchanges. Thus, from the protection of essential infrastructures (gas pipelines, satellites, etc.) to cybersecurity, via “youth” and energy, the subjects discussed were numerous. With, always, the same conclusion: we must strengthen cooperation on a continental scale.

“Peace in Europe is priceless”

It is now for the “CPE” to transform the test. A second edition is already planned. ” in some months “, in Chișinău, Moldova. Asked about the cost of these major routs at continental level, a European source indicated that, for this time, it had been mainly borne by the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU, and that, in any case , “peace in Europe and the prospect of seeing fewer people killed in Europe (did not have) no price ».

“We showed the unity of 44 European countries who said their condemnation of the Russian invasion and their support for Ukraine, it has a lot of value”, Emmanuel Macron said again, confirming additional aid for Ukraine, in particular the delivery of new Caesar guns. According to Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, it is enough to “look at who is there and who is not to demonstrate the unity of the European continent”.

But beware, there is no question of confusing “CPE” and the EU enlargement process. “The EPC is not a substitute for enlargement”, commented Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda. Rather, he sees “a kind of United Nations in Europe”. But, at the UN and within the CPE, he warned, “Finding a common denominator is not always easy”.

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