44 European Leaders Discuss a “New Order Without Russia” in Prague

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Leaders of 44 European countries and neighboring regions gathered for a summit in the Czech capital of Prague – against the background of the war in Ukraine and the sharp deterioration of relations between the EU countries and Russia. It is the first meeting of a new informal organization, the European Political Community. It is attended by representatives of all 27 EU countries, as well as candidate countries for membership in the bloc, and those countries, which are linked to the EU with economic agreements and share common European values. Invitations were extended to leaders of Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Great Britain, Turkey, Serbia, and a number of other non-EU countries. Belarus and Russia are not among the invitees. The idea to create a new format belongs to French President Emmanuel Macron, who came up with it in May. Later it was approved by the EU summit. The European Union stressed that it is not an alternative to joining the EU for the candidate countries but a new format of cooperation. “Given the dramatic consequences of the Russian war, which has affected European countries on many fronts, we have agreed to create a European political community to unite the countries of the European continent and provide a platform for political coordination,” European Council President Charles Michel said in his invitation to leaders. According to him, the summit may discuss security, economy, energy and migration. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrel said before the meeting in Prague that its participants would discuss the creation of a “new order without Russia”, and the very fact of the meeting was a clear signal of Moscow’s isolation due to its aggression against Ukraine. Earlier, Borrel published an article in which he developed his idea of building a common European space without participation of Putin’s Russia. He noted that Vladimir Putin’s recent speech about the annexation of Ukrainian territories was not just about territorial disputes with Ukraine or his desire to conquer it, but about the struggle with the “collective West”, which Putin accused of all sins: from the bombing of Dresden to sex change operations and Satanism. According to Borrell, this speech shows that Putin has shut the door to dialogue and diplomacy, increasingly dragging his country into war and isolation. Borrell noted that Putin denies the legacy of the late Mikhail Gorbachev, who proposed the idea of a “common European home”. “For the foreseeable future, probably as long as Putin remains in power, it is impossible to develop a new security structure or ‘peaceful architecture’ in Europe of which Putin's Russia would be a part,” Borrel notes. According to him, Russia is a geographical neighbor of Europe and member of the international system, but for now it is necessary to build a European political community without Putin. As noted by Borrell, this is a structure that is wider than EU and NATO. On October 7, an informal summit of the EU will be held in Prague, which is expected to approve the eighth package of sanctions against Russia. Голос Америки