ds. On 6 October, 43 European countries founded the “European Political Community” EPC in Prague. Not only the heads of state and government of the EU, but also the top representatives from 17 other countries, from Iceland to Turkey, from Albania to Armenia, met in Prague to discuss new possibilities for cooperation. Switzerland was represented by its President for the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis.
“A European summit in a class of its own”, writes the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” on 7 October. And in the following interview, German political scientist Daniela Schwarzer of the Open Society Foundations – a group of foundations of American billionaire George Soros based in New York – explains what the ECP is all about. Ms Schwarzer has been Managing Director for Europe and Eurasia since May last year.
She speaks of a platform that is open to all states in Europe. Countries that do not want to join the EU could also participate. It is not about economic integration, but about areas such as collective security and energy. “We have the opportunity,” she continues, “to create a geopolitical dialogue forum for the whole continent that does not yet exist”. The challenge is “to find a common basic political orientation. Especially in the conflict with Russia”. For them, the EPC is both a bridge and an alternative to the EU.
For the organisation, informal cooperation between states would suffice in the beginning, as long as there was no hard legal basis. But the further this community actually takes concrete political decisions, the more important it becomes either to create a secretariat or to borrow capacities from existing organisations. This is where the EU would come into play, as it already provides services to “non-EU states” within the framework of its neighbourhood policy.
In order to move forward at all, the community had to be built flexibly. For her, this means working in sub-groups and deciding by qualified majority, so that no single state could prevent the others from going ahead. Cooperation would have to be structured in such a way that groups of willing states could precede.
Where is the journey going to go? •
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