BELGRADE – SERBIA

500+ participants / 80+ speakers / 20+ panels
BSC2023

11-13 OCTOBER / HOTEL HYATT

The European Political Community: A broad discussion platform beyond the EU

October 12, 2023 by BSC0
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A panel discussion on the role of the European Political Community (EPC) took place on 12th October, debating the role of the EPC as a contributor to the security of the continent, the current trends in European integration, and ways in which various non-like-minded actors can come together and make decisions, through the EPC. Through the moderation of Isabelle Ioannides, Senior Policy Analyst, European Parliament’s Research Centre, the panelists agreed on the potential of the EPC to bring diverse actors to the table, giving equal opportunity to all states to discuss matters of joint concern.

 

Alexandre Adam, Member of the French Council of State and former Europe Advisor to French President Emmanuel Macron, shed light on the reasons behind initiating EPC, which would be the “governance vacuum in Europe” and a new security order on the continent, after the Russian aggression in Ukraine. He believes that the EPC has been established as a forum for discussion on “equal footing” between the EU Members and other participants.

 

 

Vessela Tcherneva, Deputy Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), explained that the Prague summit exemplified the popular opinions on the EU enlargement, that it has failed exponentially, and that some of the more powerful EU Member states are guided by ulterior motives by initiating EPC. However, she explained that the reality of the situation is that “the geopolitical moment had been born in Ukraine”, and we had to take that into account when approaching the topic of enlargement. She emphasised that in managing issues such as migration and energy, “the Western Balkans should not only have a say but play a crucial role”.

 

 

Nick Heath, Head of the Europe Strategy and Expertise Department, UK Government’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, gave insight into the UK’s position on the topic of EPC and its general role. He stated that the EPC still lacks clarity. With regards to the EPC, he noted that there are a couple of things unique to it: the ability to be inclusive and comprehensive, the political capacity to gather state leaders, and, finally, tremendous direction-setting possibilities. He explained that there are many levels of European integration and that saying that the EU is at the center of it would not be appropriate. It is a forum for discussion, and not a decision-making or delivering mechanism.

 

 

When discussing the EPC, Alexandra Matas, Director of International Security Dialogue, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, highlighted that “we don’t have to share the same values to cooperate”, but it makes it easier. She claimed that the EPC has the ability to bring “the groups of non-like-minded, that share a common interest of tackling trans-national issues”. “But a beautiful family photo will not be enough, it needs to make an impact”, she added.

 

 


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