European club meets in Prague to build ‘new order’ without Russia

PRAGUE, Oct 6 (Reuters) – The European Union wants the 44 countries gathered for an inaugural summit in Prague of the European Political Community (EPC) on Thursday to underline Russia’s international isolation in the face of Moscow’s war in Ukraine, said the bloc’s diplomacy chief.

However, the top is likely to be dominated by divergences over how to cap gas prices to contain the war-driven spike in energy costs that is stifling post-COVID economic recovery.

A brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macronthe EPC brings together the 27 member states of the European Union and 17 other countries, several of which are waiting to join the bloc and the only one to have ever left, the United Kingdom.

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“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, Putin’s Russia, has no seat,” he said. declared.

Borrell pointed out that the EPC gathering included countries from Britain to Serbia to Turkey, stretching from the Caucasus to the North Sea and the Mediterranean.

“This is the signal we want to send, that unfortunately we cannot build a security order with Russia. Russia is isolated… You don’t have a seat, everyone else is here.”

The rally at the sprawling Prague Castle is seen as a major show of solidarity for a continent mired in multiple crises – including the security and economic consequences of the war in Ukraine. The organizers, however, were unclear about the concrete objectives of the forum.

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

Some have already described the EPC as just another 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, Armenia and Azerbaijan to Greece and Turkey. .

Others saw hope in British Prime Minister Liz Truss’s decision to attend, a move perhaps paving the way for warmer EU-London ties that have been frayed by post- Brexit on Northern Ireland.

At 27, the tensions will also play out on germany A €200 billion ($197.50 billion) support package for businesses and households that many other member states criticize for hurting competition in the EU’s single market.

Prague Castle is a sprawling complex founded more than 1,000 years ago that includes a cathedral and cobbled streets, to be followed by a meeting of EU leaders on Friday.

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Reporting by Sabine Siebold, Michel Rose, RObert Muller, Jan Lopatka in Prague, Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels; Written by John Chalmers and Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Josie Kao and Frank Jack Daniel

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