European Council President Charles Michel has called for the creation of a European Geopolitical Community that will include the Eastern Partnership and the Western Balkans.
Michel made this proposal on 18 May, speaking at the European Economic and Social Committee.
According to Michel, “the aim is to forge convergence and deepen operational cooperation to address common challenges, peace, stability and security on our continent”.
The President said that the process must be set in motion immediately, without going into reflection: “In fact, in my opinion, there is already a de facto geopolitical community that stretches from Reykjavik to Baku or Yerevan, from Oslo to Ankara. And I am firmly convinced that we must give this geographical area a political reality.”
Foreign policy would be a major area of cooperation within this community, suggested Michel, adding that the emphasis could be placed on association with socio-economic programmes which do not necessarily require regulatory alignment, but which could bring concrete mutual benefits: “It is clear that programmes such as Erasmus, Horizon, the transport and energy sectors could be useful themes for such cooperation and project.”
Michel also said he has been consulting the 27 European leaders on this issue and decided to put it on the agenda of the June European Council. He will also propose a conference, around the summer or after, which will bring together the EU leaders and those of the partner countries concerned, to discuss concrete options.
He also stressed that the creation of a European geopolitical community should not replace the EU enlargement process, which must be made faster, more dynamic and reversible so as to encourage reforms and advance European integration.
“We must be clear: today, this process is a zero-sum game. It’s a bit of an all or nothing game. This creates a lot of disillusionment on both sides, frustration and disappointment, which are always bad ingredients when you want to build trust,” said Michel. The solution, in his view, could lie in a gradual and progressive integration during the accession process: “More for more.”
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