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    European political community tests the waters to promote EU unity with its neighbors

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    Prague, October 6th

    Reporter from Xinhua News Agency

    The first one-day European Political Community Leaders Meeting was held in Prague, Czech capital, on the 6th . In addition to EU leaders, leaders from the UK, Norway, Turkey, Ukraine, and Western Balkan countries and regions also participated in this session to discuss issues such as European security, energy, climate change and economy.

    Analysts pointed out that the reason why the idea put forward by French President Macron in May this year quickly became a reality is related to the changes in the security situation in Europe. The EU is trying to use this platform to expand its influence. Although the leaders of the meeting frequently emphasized unity before and after the meeting, because the community covers a large number of countries and regions, and the interests of all parties are different, whether this mechanism can play a practical role still faces many tests.

    Czech Prime Minister Fiala, who holds the rotating EU presidency, said in his speech before the meeting that he hoped the meeting would be turned into a round-table forum for informal exchanges on the current situation in Europe and other regions. The conference will not form a new European organization, nor will it replace existing forms of cooperation.

    The meeting was closed and no official communiqué was issued after the meeting. At the press conference after the meeting, Macron said that the meeting will focus on strengthening the protection of important European infrastructure, including natural gas pipelines, cables and satellites, combating cyber attacks, resolving regional disputes, coordinating energy policies, and dealing with immigration. Wait for the issue to unfold. Participants believed that a European-wide strategy was needed to secure the security of critical European infrastructure. Many countries have recently become the target of cyberattacks, and all parties will develop joint strategies to deal with them.

    Macron said the meeting sent a signal of “European solidarity”. The goal of the European Political Community is for participating leaders to formulate a common strategy to address the many challenges facing Europe through various forms of discussion and consultation.

    On the day of the meeting, German Chancellor Scholz also encouraged the European political community, believing that the move is an innovation that leaders can discuss without the need for routine agendas and agreements Issues of common concern will help to improve the EU’s relations with neighboring countries.

    This round table forum has now been confirmed to be continued and will be held in Moldova, Spain and the United Kingdom. The second session will be held in Moldova next spring, other times to be determined.

    In addition, the attendance of British Prime Minister Truss at the meeting aroused widespread concern. Recently, the contradiction between the UK and the EU over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol in the Brexit agreement has intensified, and the UK’s participation in the pan-European mechanism activities after the Brexit has also raised doubts among some politicians in the UK. To this end, Truss repeatedly emphasized before the meeting that her participation in the meeting was to help the UK strengthen cooperation with its neighbors and allies, not to get closer to Europe.

    Analysts believe that after the UK’s “Brexit” and then the new crown epidemic, the political and security pattern in Europe has undergone major changes recently, and the EU is facing various risks and challenges such as energy shortages and inflation. The European Political Community Leaders’ Meeting is another attempt by the EU to enhance its own influence after encountering various crises in recent years, trying to strengthen cooperation with neighboring non-EU countries and regions, and at the same time, it is also intended to ease the EU candidate countries’ concerns about accession. Disappointment that the terms of the alliance are too strict and the delay in joining the EU.

    When Macron proposed the idea of ​​a European political community, he said that this approach could include the United Kingdom, Norway, EU candidate countries and other European “like-minded people”, through a new The framework seeks new spaces for political cooperation.

    The Bruegel Institute in Brussels, Belgium said in a recent research report that major changes in the European geopolitical landscape indicate that the European Union needs a new way to structure and relations with neighboring countries. Relying only on a slow enlargement of the EU will hinder the building of relationships. The EU and its neighbours need to engage in concrete high-level political engagement on a regular basis.

    The day before the meeting, the French newspaper Le Monde also said in a commentary that the European political community could be the link between the EU and non-EU countries that want to strengthen their own security. means.

    Although many participating leaders spoke highly of this meeting, some public opinion had reservations about the prospect of this mechanism. Charles Tannock, a former British member of the European Parliament, told Xinhua that the large number of countries and regions invited to participate in the European political community may make it difficult for the community to reach consensus and eventually become a talk club that lacks influence.

    Michael Emerson, an associate researcher at the European Policy Research Center, wrote in a recent article that the top priority of the European political community is foreign policy and strategic security, but its actions in this field Power is severely limited. The most important thing is that there are often conflicts within the community on some major issues involving European geopolitical security.

    In addition, some countries that want to join the EU are also worried that this new mechanism may replace the existing EU cooperation mechanism with neighboring countries, especially candidate countries, thus delaying the EU candidacy The process of the country’s formal accession to the Union. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who attended the meeting, said on the day of the meeting that Turkey would never accept this mechanism to hinder the country’s negotiations on joining the European Union.

    “The rationale for the European Political Community, eventual membership, relationship with the EU, how decisions are made, and even whether it should have its own budget, need to be further clarified.” EU Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, wrote in a blog post. (Participating reporters: Ren Ke, Deng Yaomin, Tang Ji, Guo Mingfang)

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