“When the European Political Community (EPC) dissolves, it will say on its tombstone: RIP (2022-2024). It was a short life, with one great moment: the 2023 summit in Moldova. Then she closed her eyes and died. She will be remembered with love, but she will not be missed.
It is the analysis done through the social network Gerald Knausof the think tank European Stability Initiative (ESI). This Thursday, Granada hosted the forum that was born at the request of the French president Emmanuel Macron to show continental unity against Russia. But the outcome has been bitter, since the pan-European forum that emerged with the idea of further cornering Moscow has not yet found its reason for being.
The Andalusian city has dressed up to welcome the leaders of 45 countries in the third meeting in its history. After Prague and Chisinau, the Granada meeting leaves a bitter taste. No concrete resultswithout joint statements and without even the traditional press conference, which has been canceled due to the indisposition of the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunaknext host.
If Moldova left a certain enthusiasm, the European Political Community will have a difficult time coming back from its Spanish event
It is true that final declarations or big announcements are not in their nature, but the one that converges in Spain is a meeting that has contributed little beyond sectoral dialogue tables on energy, connectivity or multilateralism. If Moldova left a certain enthusiasm last year, The European Political Community is going to have a difficult time coming back from its Spanish event.
The previous summit took place a few kilometers from the border with Russia. AND Your guest was and is an aspiring country to one day become a member of the European Union. The symbolism and picture of a united continent except for Russia and Belarus was strong and overshadowed the lack of tangible results.
But Granada has not been able to camouflage a disenchantment with a format that lacks legal basis to make decisions and that it does not have a structure, calendar or budget.
At first, the idea gained strength as a meeting point between countries united by history and geography to address energy, geopolitical and security issues in an increasingly hostile, unpredictable and unstable world.
“Taking into account the dramatic consequences of the Russian war, which are affecting European countries on several fronts, we have agreed to launch the European political community with the aim of bringing together countries on the European continent and serving as a platform for political coordination. The objective is to bring together leaders on an equal footing and promote political dialogue and cooperation on issues of common interest so that, together, we work to strengthen the security, stability and prosperity of Europe as a whole,” he summarized after its birth Charles Michelpresident of the European Council.
But two years and three summits later, its added value continues to be distorted. Especially in terms of serving as a basis to advance the resolution of internal conflicts between its members. Serbia and Kosovo are going through one of the worst escalations of tension in recent years after the peak of violence on its border a few days ago. Its leaders have not met in the Andalusian city. In fact, they have confirmed that this is not the format for dialogue.
The Belgrade-Pristina dialogue has been championed by the EU since 2011, although it has hardly borne fruit. The Kosovo president, Vjosa Osmanihas assured in what has been the first trip by a Kosovo head of state to Spain in more than a decade that he has nothing to talk to his Serbian counterpart until sanctions are imposed.
One of the great failures of the event was the last minute absence of the Turkish president. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. His deletion of the family photograph is not trivial. They are two of the continent’s leaders closest to Russia. And their sit-in leaves a lost opportunity for dialogue towards peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan and is a lost opportunity for the geopolitical muscle of the EU.
Until just one day before Granada, on the agenda of Macron and the chancellor Olaf Scholz a meeting between Aliyev and the Armenian prime minister shined Nikol Pashinyan. Finally, Baku canceled his leader’s trip because France had announced shortly before military aid to Yerevan and because the Europeans did not agree to Erdogan being part of the talks.
As a consequence, neither the Turk nor the Azeri have attended the meeting in the south of Spain, a movement that strengthens Russia not only symbolically, but in view of its position to mediate in the Caucasus, a region where it has always been very present.
Thus, Granada 2023 concludes without answering the question that the French president François Mitterrand launched in 1989, after the fall of the Berlin Wall. “How can we organize Europe from a political point of view and beyond the European Union?”
The European Political Community was born with the ambition to rethink Europe beyond the EU, to find a united geopolitical continental anchorage and to stage Russia’s loneliness on the continent. But it continues to search for its raison d’être, overshadowed by other forums of a similar nature, but with much more experience, such as the Council of Europe in Strasbourg or the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris.
The 27 leaders of the community bloc want to prevent it from being an EU with satellites, but what many countries feel is that this format is nothing more than a consolation prize for second-class states. “The CPE is an expression of the pan-european unity at the heart of Russia’s brutal and illegal aggression. Together we can address the joint challenges that will mark our future: from the climate to Artificial Intelligence or multilateralism,” he summarized. Josep Borrellhead of European diplomacy, from Granada.
Granada, capital of Europe
The reception of more than 45 leaders from across the continent has made Granada the media focus of the week. The commitment to host the aforementioned event, which will follow the European summit on Fridaywas one of the highlights of the Spanish Presidency of the Council.
But the country’s political instability, marked by talks to form a government, is not letting it shine. Pedro Sánchez’s own intervention upon his arrival has been monopolized by investiture negotiations.
In July, the summit with Latin America, the other highlight of the Presidency, already tarnished the country’s role and image in Brussels. Pedro Sanchez left the European Council building in a hurry and left urgently to an electoral rally in Spain absenting himself from the final press conference, something unusual in summits organized by a semi-annual Presidency.
A final press conference has not been held in Granada, weakening the result of the event and leaving criticism and confusion arise of the multitude of media present there. Devaluing, in the process, the importance of the already battered European Political Community.