President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky will take part in the first summit of the European Political Community (EPC), which will be held on October 6 in Prague. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal will represent Ukraine at the summit.
“As of today, Zelensky’s participation is expected via video link, which we understand very well. Physically, Prime Minister Shmyhal will be there,” a high-ranking European official told reporters announcing the upcoming event.
According to him, 44 leaders are expected to attend the summit, which will start at 13.00 and will last until late in the evening. “A total of 44 guests have been invited – we have received a positive response from all of them, although some of them have not yet given a final answer. The summit will start with a plenary meeting from 13.00 to 14.00 with several speeches – the Czech Prime Minister will speak, there will be a connection with Zelensky, and we plan to provide more time [for speeches] for non-EU countries. Who exactly will speak is still being discussed,” the interlocutor of the journalists said.
Further roundtable talks are planned. “This is the concept that was used at the summit with the African Union. The idea is to bring together several leaders – 10-12 – to discuss specific issues. We expect four roundtable talks and twice – with similar questions – we will have two roundtable talks on peace, security and stability in Europe, each of them will have 10 leaders and the second issue is energy and climate change. We also expect the issue of migration. Then there will be time for bilateral negotiations before the working dinner, which is scheduled from 19.30 to 21.30,” he continued.
The senior EU official noted that the purpose of the summit is to promote unity and solidarity “in this geographical arena.” “Of course, we know that there are different positions, sometimes even conflicting ones, but it is important that people talk to each other. The purpose of the summit is to create a political platform for dialogue. The global goal is to promote stability, security and prosperity across the continent,” he said.
No written declaration is expected at the end of the meeting, but it is expected that “there will be joint messages from the meeting itself, in a spirit of unity, to promote political dialogue on issues of common interest.” “We want to achieve increased mutual understanding, progress on joint approaches and work towards the next Summit of the Joint Interest Initiative. We expect the leaders to put forward their ideas, projects and proposals to enhance cooperation in various areas, whether it is migration, security, economics or energy. So there will be no written statement, but there will be a joint message, including support for Ukraine… There will be a joint photo of the EPC – 44 leaders in one photo, which in these conditions will also send a message,” the official explained.
At the same time, the interlocutor of the journalists stated that the EPC is “new, and therefore many questions remain.” “Leaders should discuss this together, this is an intergovernmental process, not an ‘EU plus’ format, where we help create this platform… Whether there will be subsequent meetings – this issue will be discussed by the leaders, but there is an understanding of what will happen. The question is where and when. On the part of the EU, there is an understanding that this should be in a country that is not a member of the EU. When it comes to how often to hold such meetings, some say – once every six months, others – once a year. We have to hold two-three meetings to see if it works,” he detailed.
The leaders of all EU member states and the leaders of Ukraine, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Kosovo, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the President of the European Council, and President of the European Commission are invited to the European Political Community summit. The EPC does not replace existing organisations, structures or processes in terms of EU integration and does not aim to create new ones at this stage.