Macron eyes European Political Community meeting this year

  • 2022-06-26
  • LETA/AFP/TBT Staff

BRUSSELS - A first "European Political Community" meeting will take place in the Czech Republic before the end of the year, French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday.

The idea -- Macron's brainchild -- is to provide a platform for political dialogue and cooperation, and is set to include countries aspiring to join the EU.

It has been met with a mix of interest and skepticism.

"We will invite (countries) from Iceland to Ukraine", Macron told a press conference following a summit in Brussels that recognized Ukraine and Moldova as EU candidates.

Discussions showed "very broad consensus" for the group, which will be "based on geography and values", Macron said.

European Council President Charles Michel said the "possible meeting" would be held in Prague, with the list of countries involved drawn up later.

It could take place in October, European sources said.

Macron suggested the European Political Community proposal to the European Parliament on May 9, as the chamber debated Ukraine's ambition to become a candidate to one day join the EU.

He mooted it as a broad but "lean" decision-making structure for political dialogue and cooperation on matters of common interest for European nations -- both those in the EU and outside it.

It would include countries wanting to join the EU, such as Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Western Balkans states. But also those happy to be outside it, such as Switzerland and Norway, and perhaps even former member Britain.

There is a question mark over Turkey, a longtime EU aspirant that sits alongside many European countries in NATO, which has expressed interest in the idea.

Diplomatic sources said a decision had not been reached on Turkey's participation.

Macron has insisted the forum would only be for countries that share the EU's "democratic values".