The new European club meets without Russia

  • 44 Europeans gathered in Prague for a symbolic summit
  • Energy and security in everyone’s mind
  • Truss’ participation raises hopes for better EU-UK relations
  • Doubts about the viability of the European large format
  • EU27 will follow with its own summit, gas cap on the menu

PRAGUE, Oct 6 (Reuters) – The European Union and its neighbors from Britain to Turkey met on Thursday to discuss common security and energy issues stemming from the invasion of Ukraine by Moscow at a rare and symbolic summit of 44 European countries – but not Russia.

The Prague gathering is the inaugural summit of the European Political Community (EPC), a format devised by French President Emmanuel Macron and bringing together the 27 members of the European Union with 17 other European countries.

Some of them are waiting to join the bloc while another, Britain, is the only one who has ever left.

Join now for FREE unlimited access to

“All those gathered here know: Russia’s attack on Ukraine is a brutal violation of the peace and security order that we have had for the past decades in Europe,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said. .

“We do not accept that part of a neighboring country be annexed.”

His comments were echoed by Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, as well as senior European diplomat Josep Borrell.

“This meeting is a way to seek a new order without Russia. It does not mean that we want to exclude Russia forever, but this Russia, (President Vladimir) Putin’s Russia, has no seat,” he said. said Borrell.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss, after meeting with summit host Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, underlined their “strong agreement on the importance of like-minded European democracies presenting a united front against Putin’s brutality “.

His decision to attend the summit has raised hopes for a warmer tone between the EU and post-Brexit London, where the two are still at odds over trade issues around Northern Ireland.

The rally at the sprawling Prague Castle is seen by its supporters as a major show of solidarity for a continent mired in multiple crises, from the security fallout of Russia’s war in Ukraine to dire economic consequences, including an acute energy crisis.

Macron said his priority was to build more electricity connections in Europe and lower gas prices.

“We share the same space. Very often, the same history. And we are supposed to write our future together,” he said. “I hope we can get joint projects.”


Beyond the beautiful declarations, doubts hovered over the concrete objectives and actions of the forum.

Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said no decision was expected at the symbolic meeting which the EU had presented as just an “initial exchange” of thoughts.

“The main goal is for us all to unite because the Russian war in Ukraine affects us all from a security point of view and also through our economies, through rising energy costs. The only way to to manage this is to work together,” he said.

Some were quick to dismiss the EPC as any other chat room, which will be difficult to manage not only because of its size but also because of its diversity and the traditional rivalries between many of its members, from Armenia and Azerbaijan to Greece and Turkey.

The 27 EU nations will continue to meet on Friday, with tensions over Germany’s 200 billion euro ($197.50 billion) energy support package that many of its peers see as damaging competition in the bloc’s single market.

At their meeting, EU countries will discuss their differences on how to cap gas prices to contain soaring energy costs that are hurting post-COVID economic recovery.

($1 = 1.0127 euros)

Join now for FREE unlimited access to

Reporting by Sabine Siebold, Michel Rose, Robert Muller, Jan Lopatka, Michel Kahn, Jason Hovet, Andreas Rinke in Prague, Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels; Written by John Chalmers and Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Josie Kao, Frank Jack Daniel and Frances Kerry

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.