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Prague hosts inaugural meeting of European Political Community

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-10-06 22:13
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British Prime Minister Liz Truss, left, speaks with Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi during a meeting of the European Political Community at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic, Oct 6, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

PRAGUE -- Over 40 European leaders met here on Thursday for the inaugural meeting of the European Political Community (EPC).

The participants were holding roundtable discussions on security and peace as well as energy, climate and economy in the afternoon. They were also expected to discuss the platform's future settings, including the frequency of meetings and the host countries.

"Europe has many difficult problems right now, and we meet here to discuss solutions," Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said at the opening of the session.

"We want to have this group as a forum for informal exchanges of views on current events in Europe and beyond," he said, mentioning the Russia-Ukraine conflict, inflation, high energy prices, the transition to sustainable energy and economy and illegal migration.

The EPC meeting in Prague is the first of its kind. Besides the 27 member states of the European Union (EU), several Western Balkan nations, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and non-EU countries that are deeply integrated in the single market -- such as Norway and Switzerland -- as well as the United Kingdom (UK) and Türkiye were invited to the so-called "EU+" gathering.

The brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron, the EPC serves as a platform for political coordination for European countries. It aims to promote political dialogue and cooperation on issues of common interest to strengthen the continent's security and stability, according to the EU.

However, some critics have said the new platform is an attempt to hinder EU enlargement and may become a talking shop with no real content.

Macron said before the meeting that he expects the EPC to have a lasting impact on the future of Europe. But the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU has said that "no formal written outcome of the EPC is envisaged" in Prague.

On Friday, the EU leaders will meet for an informal summit to discuss the most pressing issues facing the bloc, such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the rising costs of energy and its economic ramifications.

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