27 plus 17: EU invites you to a new political community
Security, energy, climate, economy, migration: there is a lot to talk about in Europe – also beyond the borders of the EU. The association of states therefore wants to strengthen the dialogue with non-EU countries.
The new European community, pushed by France, is set to bring 44 countries together at the first meeting on October 6. In addition to the 27 EU members, there are 17 other European countries. Invitations to the Prague meeting were sent out to non-EU countries on Thursday, an EU official said.
Invited states include Ukraine, Turkey, Great Britain and Switzerland. Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Western Balkan states of Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo were also invited by EU Council President Charles Michel and Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala. The Czech Republic currently holds the presidency of the EU states.
Informal summit in Prague
According to the EU official, the heads of state and government of the countries should talk about peace and security, energy and climate, the economic situation and migration, among other things. No formal closing statement is planned. The meeting comes ahead of the informal EU summit scheduled for October 7 in Prague. The intention is to meet once or twice a year, the EU official said. The aim is to coordinate better across the continent. Security, stability and prosperity in Europe should be promoted.
EU Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas sees the new community as an opportunity to enforce European values. “In my opinion, this is a crucial moment for EU member states and our partners to re-commit themselves firmly to our fundamental principles and values,” he said of the upcoming meeting. Those countries that do not respect what the EU stands for are unlikely to reap the benefits of the EU either. Schinas mentioned, for example, access to the EU internal market or the customs union, but not specific countries.
Macron was an idea generator
French President Emmanuel Macron launched the idea for the new political community in May. Macron wants to use them to improve cooperation with partners who will not be admitted to the EU in the foreseeable future or who do not want to join the EU at all.
Specifically, he repeatedly mentioned Ukraine, which recently officially became a candidate for EU membership, but according to current EU rules can probably only become a member in the next decade at the earliest.