The European Political Community from Prague to Granada

12 October 2023,
09:00 to 18:00
Villa Vigoni, Menaggio (Como)

To discuss the purpose, structure and future of the European Political Community (EPC), its strategic role and its ties with the EU, FEPS, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Italian Office and Fondation Jean-Jaurès have joined forces to organise, in cooperation with the German Italian Centre for the European Dialogue Villa Vigoni and Centro Studi di Politica Internazionale (CeSPI), this timely international expert meeting.

On 9 May 2022, French President Emmanuel Macron called for establishing a European Political Community to respond to the geopolitical challenges posed by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and boost European cooperation beyond the EU borders. The French proposal was received cautiously by the other EU member states, because they feared that it hid the attempt to slow down the enlargement process further. Despite widespread wariness, the first two meetings of this new political entity were held respectively in Prague (Czech Republic) on 6 October 2022 and, symbolically, in Chisinau (Moldova) on 1 June 2023. A third meeting is scheduled to take place in Granada (Spain) on 5 October 2023.

The newly established platform offers EU and non-EU states the opportunity for dialogue on an equal footing on a number of strategic issues (security, energy, connectivity, migration, youth, etc.). However, its overall purpose and agenda still need to be fully clarified. On the one hand, the EPC aims to show Europe’s unity in the face of the Russian aggression and its solidarity towards Ukraine and to reduce Moscow’s influence on the continent. On the other, it tries to (re)frame the EU’s relations with its neighbouring countries, by increasing exchange opportunities with the EU candidate countries and redrawing relationships with other non-EU members, particularly the UK. The former goal, however, is to be pursued in a context in which not all European countries share the same attitude towards Russia. For instance, Serbia and Turkey have substantial ties with Moscow. And the latter, despite declared intents, risks turning the EPC into an EU’s ‘waiting room’ of differentiated integration for the candidate countries.

Besides the above-mentioned criticalities, the EPC’s (intentional) lack of structure, informality and flexibility may backfire. If it is to be avoided that summits turn into mere talking shops, institutions (albeit light) and investments will be needed to ensure some form of continuity and capacity.