NewsLocalCyprus President among leaders at Thursday's inaugural summit of EPC

Cyprus President among leaders at Thursday’s inaugural summit of EPC

Leaders of 44 European countries including Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades gather in Prague on Thursday for the inaugural summit of the European Political Community (EPC).

A brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron, this is a grand show of solidarity for a continent mired in multiple crises.

The EPC brings together the 27 member states of the European Union and 17 other countries, including several waiting to join the bloc and the only one ever to leave it – the United Kingdom.

Increasing tension in the Eastern Mediterranean region fueled by Turkey’s verbal attacks against Greece and Cyprus is also expected to also come under discussion.

However, the main purpose of the gathering of so many leaders is to send “a very strong signal” to Russian President Vladimir Putin of opposition to the war unleashed in Ukraine after his February invasion.

Diplomats say no such Europe-wide grouping exists, and this is a good moment to forge one as the whole continent grapples with consequences of the war, including the threat to peace and security and an economically devastating energy crisis.

But, on the eve of the gathering, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said with so many leaders meeting for just half a day it could only be “an initial exchange,” and there were still unresolved questions about the forum’s ultimate goal.

Some have already written off the EPC as just another talking shop, one that will be difficult to manage not just because of its size but also because of its diversity and the traditional rivalries between many of its members.

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