EU leaders to discuss energy crisis at Prague summit | New
Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic which currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), will host an informal EU summit on Friday.
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Leaders of EU countries are to discuss the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, rising energy costs and its economic ramifications. Their summit on Thursday will be preceded by the inaugural meeting of the European Political Community (EPC).
Created by French President Emmanuel Macron, the EPC serves as a political coordination platform for European countries. It aims to promote political dialogue and cooperation on issues of common interest to enhance the security and stability of the continent.
The EPC meeting in Prague will bring together leaders from more than 40 European countries. In addition to the 27 EU Member States, several Western Balkan countries, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and non-EU countries deeply integrated into the single market – such as Norway and Switzerland – as well as the United Kingdom and Turkey were invited to the so-called “EU+” gathering.
British Prime Minister Liz Truss reportedly decided to attend the meeting as it gives her country “an opportunity to shape a new European forum from within post-Brexit”. London has also suggested hosting one of the next EPC meetings.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will also attend the meeting, Czech media reported, citing Turkey’s ambassador to the Czech Republic. Greece has declared itself open to a meeting between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Erdogan in Prague amid a recent escalation of tensions between the two neighbors over their differences in the Aegean Sea.
Participants will discuss security and peace, energy, climate and economy. They are also expected to discuss future parameters of the platform, including frequency of meetings and host countries. However, the EU said that “no formal written results of the EPC are envisaged”.
The Ukrainian conflict has had a “dramatic impact” on the energy situation in Europe, with a knock-on effect on the economy, according to European Council President Charles Michel.
“Our main objective is to ensure security of supply and affordable energy for our households and businesses, especially as the cold winter approaches. We will assess the decisions already taken in this regard and provide guidance on the additional measures needed to ensure a good – a coordinated European response,” he said.
Last week, energy ministers from EU member states reached a political agreement on a series of emergency measures, including reducing electricity consumption and capping the income of electricity producers. electricity, with the aim of mitigating the currently high energy prices. However, Member States remain divided on the natural gas price cap.
EU leaders will also consider ways to protect critical infrastructure in their countries. Several leaks have recently been detected on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea near Denmark and Sweden, an incident being investigated as probable sabotage.
Describing the incidents as a “threat to the EU”, Michel tweeted that “we are determined to secure our critical infrastructure. Leaders will discuss this at the upcoming Prague summit.”
Leaders will also discuss the overall economic situation. Inflation in the euro zone rose by 10% in September, a new record since the launch of the single currency in 1999. Energy prices, which rose by 40.8% in September compared to a one year, were once again the main contributor to the acceleration in inflation.
Unable to pay…
Britons are burning their energy bills in protest against soaring prices
Thousands marched in London and other UK cities on Saturday against the high cost of living.
The collapse of society and economy is breathtaking… And it’s all over Europe now. pic.twitter.com/NQFUmiJrPb
— Zaid Hamid (@ZaidZamanHamid)
October 2, 2022
In his letter of invitation to EU member states for the Prague summit, Michel said the leaders will discuss ways to continue providing “strong economic, military, political and financial support” to Ukraine, while by strengthening “our restrictive measures to further increase the pressure on Russia”. “
The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, last week proposed the eighth round of sanctions against Russia. The proposed sanctions package will further restrict trade to “isolate and further hit the Russian economy” and includes additional export bans on key technologies used for the military.
EU countries are reportedly close to agreeing on the package, which is expected to be approved this week. Decisions on sanctions require unanimity, and among EU members Hungary has been a vocal opponent of sanctions against Russia. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that with the sanctions Europe had “shot itself in the foot”.
“Europeans have become poorer (because of sanctions), while Russia has not fallen to its knees,” he argued, adding that families across Europe were paying the price of sanctions in their bills. energy.
In Prague, two demonstrations took place in September against the Czech government’s handling of the energy crisis, calling, among other things, for the country’s military neutrality and direct contracts with gas suppliers – mainly with Russia – to ease the burden of high energy prices. .