Club Europe meets in Prague to build ‘new order’ without Russia

PRAGUE, Oct 6 (Reuters) – The European Union wants 44 countries to attend the opening summit of the European Political Community (EPC) in Prague on Thursday to highlight Russia’s international isolation over Moscow’s war in Ukraine, the bloc’s top diplomat said.

However, the summit will be dominated by differences over how to rein in gas prices to curb energy costs driven by the war to take the wind out of the post-Covid economic recovery.

The EPC, the brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron, brings together the EU’s 27 member states, 17 more, including many waiting to join, and the United Kingdom, the only country to leave.

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“This meeting is a way of looking for a new order without Russia. It doesn’t mean we want to put Russia aside forever, but this Russia, Putin’s Russia, is out of place,” he said.

Borrell stressed that the EPC meeting would include countries from Britain to Serbia to Turkey, the Caucasus to the North Sea and the Mediterranean.

“That’s the signal we want to send, unfortunately we can’t create a security order with Russia. Russia is isolated. You don’t have a seat, everyone else is here.”

The gathering at the sprawling Prague Castle is seen as a giant show of unity for a continent reeling from multiple crises, including the security and economic fallout from the war in Ukraine. However, the organizers are not clear about the concrete goals of the forum.

Borrell had said ahead of the summit that many leaders would meet for only half a day for an “initial exchange”. Questions about the forum’s ultimate purpose, membership and functioning remain unresolved, he said.

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Some have already written off the EPC as just another talking shop, difficult to manage not only because of its size, but because of its diversity and traditional rivalries among its many members, from Armenia and Azerbaijan to Greece and Turkey. .

Others saw a glimmer of hope in British Prime Minister Liz Truss’ decision to attend, which could pave the way for warmer ties between the EU and London, which have been marred by the post-Brexit row over Northern Ireland.

27, tensions will also arise over Germany’s 200 billion euro ($197.50 billion) support package for businesses and households.

Prague Castle, a sprawling complex founded 1,000 years ago that includes a cathedral and cobbled streets, will host a meeting of EU leaders on Friday.

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Report by Sabine Siebold, Michel Rose, Robert Muller, Jan Lopatka in Prague, Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels; By John Chalmers and Gabriela Pacinska; Editing by Josie Cao and Frank Jack Daniel

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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