Zelensky unlikely to attend EU summit in Prague in October
The first summit meeting of the new EU-plus forum is due to take place in Prague, with the Czech Republic currently holding the EU’s rotating presidency, ahead of an informal meeting of EU leaders on October 7.
“Invitations will be sent soon” for the summit, scheduled for October 6 and 7 in Prague, with the leaders of the six Western Balkan countries, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, the United Kingdom, the Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan expected to receive them, the EU official told reporters.
The idea of the new forum, the brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron, is to provide a platform for political dialogue and cooperation while including countries aspiring to join the EU and those happy to remain outside the block.
The main objective is “to have a political discussion on strategic issues of common interest for the European continent”, the EU official said, adding that the main issues will include Russia’s war against Ukraine , the energy crisis and the economic situation in Europe.
Macron had floated the idea earlier in May, amid debate over whether to grant Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova EU candidate status, as an option that would allow countries EU neighbors currently outside the EU framework to be more closely involved in the bloc.
Some observers feared that the proposal meant the search for an “alternative” to EU enlargement, which France, and de facto most Western European countries, were skeptical of before the invasion of Ukraine by Russia only gives new impetus to the process.
Czech European Affairs Minister Mikuláš Bek said on Friday he did not expect Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to attend the summit.
According to Bek, the Ukrainian president will not leave his country until the Russian invasion is over.
The Czech Republic took over the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 July. She has made the refugee crisis and aid to Ukraine, energy security, strengthening defense and the resilience of the European economy, among others, the main priorities of her presidency.