The European Political Community (EPC) is a bi-annual gathering of leaders from 44 European countries (thus far) to provide a platform to discuss strategic issues in Europe, filling a much-needed gap for unscripted dialogue among leaders of EU member states, candidate countries and other European countries after Russia blew up the continental security order with its full-scale war against Ukraine.
The idea for an EPC was initially floated by French President Emmanuel Macron in a 9 May 2022 address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. According to Macron, the EPC is meant to establish ‘a new space for political cooperation, security and cooperation in the fields of energy, transport, investment, infrastructures the movement of people and in particular our youth’ across Europe, including EU and non-EU countries.
During the EU European Council Leaders’ Summit on 23-24 June 2022, EU member states also endorsed the idea of establishing an EPC bringing Heads of State and Government together. In his remarks, President of the European Council Charles Michel emphasized that the EPC will be framed around three questions:
Why? The idea is to ensure security and stability on the European continent.
What? This could take the form of a platform for political dialogue in coordination with our European partners on an equal footing.
Who? We think it is best for the format to be for political leaders only. And we intend to define later a specific scope.”
The substance of EPC discussions is intentionally flexible and depends on the preferences du jour of the many actors involved: the country holding the rotating Presidency of the EPC, other EPC participants that are particularly interested in driving the agenda forward such as France, the EU due to the EU membership perspective of some non-EU EPC participants as well as the EU’s significant funding for those countries through its structured policy frameworks. External countries are also very important either as supporters (such as G7 countries) or spoilers (Russia and Belarus).
The first meeting of the EPC was held in Prague, Czechia on 6 October 2022 and the second in Bulboaca, Moldova on 1 June 2023. A third Summit is scheduled to take place in Granada, Spain on 5 October 2023, with a fourth to be held in the United Kingdom in the first semester of 2024.
For more analysis on the EPC, see here.