Sceptical Liz Truss attends first meeting of European Political Community

1 month ago 15

Liz Truss is gathering leaders successful Prague for the first-ever gathering of the European Political Community, a caller radical dedicated to advancing information and vigor practice crossed the continent.

The brainchild of the French president, Emmanuel Macron, the European Political Community volition bring unneurotic leaders from astir each European state but Russia and Belarus.

Prime ministers oregon presidents from 44 countries are invited to participate, including each 27 EU leaders, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who volition code Thursday’s gathering via video link. The Danish premier minister, Mette Frederiksen, who called drawback elections connected Tuesday, whitethorn miss the gathering owed to the yearly opening of parliament.

As 1 of 4 non-EU leaders to code the opening plenary, Truss volition impulse the gathering to basal steadfast against Russian aggression arsenic “Europe faces its biggest situation since the 2nd satellite war”, according to a preview of her code released by Number 10. She is expected to say: “We indispensable proceed to basal steadfast – to guarantee that Ukraine wins this war, but besides to woody with the strategical challenges that it has exposed.”

Also owed to code the opening league are Zelenskiy, the premier ministers of Norway and Albania, Jonas Gahr Støre and Edi Rama, and the Czech premier minister, Petr Fiala, who is hosting the meeting.

A elder EU diplomat said the gathering of 44 leaders was “a applicable connection … to Mr Putin. We’ve seen messages from the EU. We’ve seen messages from Nato. [Thursday] volition besides beryllium a connection by gathering successful Prague from 44 European leaders, arsenic we don’t person a functioning forum contiguous for the European continent.”

Although Truss remains somewhat sceptical astir the gathering, she decided to spell to amusement the unity of the continent successful enactment of Ukraine, against Russia. For the UK it is besides an important infinitesimal to sermon priorities specified arsenic vigor and migration, arsenic the pressures of Brexit statesman to recede.

Truss volition clasp bilateral meetings with Macron and the Dutch premier minister, Mark Rutte, to sermon however to halt transgression gangs that are helping radical transverse the Channel successful tiny boats. During the time she is besides expected to clasp talks connected processing caller atomic and offshore upwind capacity, arsenic portion of her program of making the UK a nett vigor exporter by 2040.

Arriving astatine Prague castle, Rutte praised Truss and the British government’s stance connected Ukraine, saying, “the UK that has provided truthful overmuch enactment implicit the past 9 months”.

Writing successful the Times, Truss said the UK and its neighbours, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, should perpetrate to keeping opening vigor connections this winter. The UK sends and receives some state and energy done undersea cables and pipelines that are linked to the continent.

That connection volition beryllium invited to the UK’s neighbours, aft it emerged successful the summertime that National Grid was considering cutting disconnected state pipelines to the Netherlands and Belgium nether its exigency plans – a stance that shocked EU diplomats.

The gathering is not intended to unlock advancement connected the UK’s long-running quality implicit the Northern Ireland protocol, but British and EU officials anticipation it volition assistance amended relations betwixt the 2 sides. Separately, EU and British officials are expected connected Thursday to restart talks connected the Northern Ireland protocol, ending a stalemate erstwhile the 2 sides did not clasp ceremonial meetings.

While the EU has organised the EPC meeting, British officials consciousness reassured that Brussels is not trying to predominate the fledgling pan-European organisation. But the EU’s astir elder officials volition besides instrumentality part, including the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, and the European Council president, Charles Michel.

Earlier this week the overseas secretary, James Cleverly, said the authorities was looking astatine the caller radical “with an unfastened mind”. Speaking astatine the Conservative enactment league helium said: “We privation to find ways of moving good with our neighbours and partners and friends successful Europe.”

In her Times nonfiction Truss said: “A post-Brexit Britain, arsenic an autarkic state extracurricular the EU, should beryllium progressive successful discussions that impact the full continent and each of america present astatine home.”

The shadiness overseas secretary, David Lammy, said: “For excessively agelong the Conservatives person isolated Britain from its neighbours successful Europe done petty insults and threats to interruption planetary law. It is successful the nationalist involvement for Liz Truss to wantonness this juvenile attack to relations with our European allies and partners.”

He said Labour would suggest a caller UK-EU information pact to complement Nato. Under Boris Johnson and Theresa May, the authorities disappointed European allies by ruling retired a ceremonial statement connected overseas argumentation with the EU.