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How to Build the European Political Community

A European Union summit in Prague on October 6 could mark a watershed moment in the continent's integration process. With a clearly defined mission, ambitious goals, and serious commitment, the new body could reshape the EU’s relations with its neighbors.

PARIS/BERLIN – When historians look back at the inaugural summit of the European Political Community (EPC), which will take place in Prague on October 6, they may consider it a watershed moment for Europe’s integration project. Or they may view it as a mere footnote.

The EPC, as proposed in May by French President Emmanuel Macron, aims to serve as a forum for European leaders to “find a new space for political and security cooperation” and discuss issues of common concern, like energy policy and infrastructure. The Prague summit will bring together the leaders of EU member states and countries seeking accession, including Ukraine and Moldova. It will also include countries outside the European Union, like Israel, Switzerland, and Turkey. Despite having endorsed Brexit, UK Prime Minister Liz Truss will attend the gathering.

The war in Ukraine has highlighted the need to reshape the EU’s relationship with its neighbors. The European Neighborhood Policy – a framework designed to deepen ties with the EU’s eastern and southern neighbors – has failed, and the enlargement process is painfully slow. By granting candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova in June, EU leaders demonstrated the sort of determined action that the new geopolitical landscape requires. But the decision also resulted in a conundrum: the EU can either accelerate its enlargement process or keep the current criteria and timetable, which would require applicants to wait for a decade.