Home News The political community will be a framework for dialogue for the whole of Europe – Pierre Haski

The political community will be a framework for dialogue for the whole of Europe – Pierre Haski

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The political community will be a framework for dialogue for the whole of Europe – Pierre Haski

06 October 2022 09:48

Thirty years ago, at the end of the Cold War, François Mitterrand had the intuition to associate the former Communist countries of Europe with the European Community, and in Prague a summit was held to found a confederation. I was there and I remember well how it was a failure as burning as it was predictable. The new democracies above all wanted to join NATO, the US security umbrella.

On 6 October, also in Prague, the first summit of the European Political Community will take place, which pursues the same objective indicated three decades ago: to offer a political framework to the whole continent, to the 27 countries of the Union but also to those who do not they are part of, whether or not they are candidates for membership.

The real difference with the confederation is that in 1991 Mitterrand wanted to invite the USSR into the agony of Mikhail Gorbachev. Today it is the war unleashed by Vladimir Putin, Gorbachev’s indirect successor, that has precipitated events. Putin forced the Europeans to reinvent the continent’s organization.

Modest beginnings
When the idea of ​​the political community was first aired, in June in Strasbourg, Emmanuel Macron had spoken of collective security guarantees. The beginnings, however, will be more modest: there will be no structure and not even a secretariat.

The community will be a political framework in which the whole continent will sit around one table to discuss key issues, including the UK which is no longer part of the EU and Turkey which will never be part of it, but also Georgia and the countries of the Balkans, living on permanent powder kegs.

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It will be a political place in the noblest sense of the term. And perhaps this will also be its limit

The advantage is twofold: on the one hand to show Putin that his war does not divide Europe despite different sensitivities, on the other hand to create a forum for dialogue that did not previously exist. Azerbaijan and Armenia will be present despite being divided by everything, as will Turkey and Greece, currently at loggerheads.

Within the Community, countries will be able to talk to each other without the bureaucratic limits of accession negotiations. It will be a political place in the noblest sense of the term. And perhaps this will also be its limit.

The Community could foreshadow an evolution of the continent. For decades we have been talking about Europe with variable geometry, but without ever realizing it. Jacques Delors, the great president of the Brussels Commission, was already discussing this in the 1980s and 1990s.

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The European Political Community could be the largest circle of this variable geometry, with mechanisms of solidarity and cooperation without constraints. A second circle would be that of the 27 countries of the European Union. In this regard, some leaders already envision, in the more distant future, an even smaller group of countries willing to accept greater sharing of sovereignty.

To carry out an evolution of this type, however, it is essential to emerge not only unscathed but also strengthened by the ordeal of the war in Ukraine. It is Europe’s challenge in the face of a threat that was not foreseen but which, as we have been observing for seven months, has pushed the continent to make giant steps.

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(Translation by Andrea Sparacino)

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