European Political Committee to meet for first time in Prague

EU leaders are to meet this week for two events related to strategic, energy, and economic issues.

Ioana Caloianu

Written by Ioana Caloianu Published on 03.10.2022 12:20:00 (updated on 11.10.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague will host this week two strategic events with the participation of dozens of EU and non-EU countries. These are the first meeting of the European Political Community on Oct. 6, and an informal meeting of the European Council the following day, European Council President Charles Michel said in a press release.

The European Political Community was launched following the June European Council in a bid to create a platform for political coordination and bring together European countries, the press release said.

The agenda of the European Political Committee features topics such as peace and security, the economic situation, energy and climate, and migration and mobility. The informal meeting will focus on "three most pressing – and interlinked – issues for us all, namely Russia’s war in Ukraine, energy, and the economic situation."

"The ambition is to bring leaders together on an equal footing and to foster political dialogue and cooperation on issues of common interest so that, together, we work on strengthening the security, stability, and prosperity of Europe as a whole," the agenda states.

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Along with the 27 EU countries, 17 non-member countries, including Ukraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Switzerland, Norway, Kosovo and the UK have also been invited to the summit. The summit will also see the participation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which shows that, after years of isolation, Ankara would like to start strengthening its relationship to the EU.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is also expected to attend.

Hundreds of police officers from all over the Czech Republic, as well as the army, will provide security at the summit, ČTK reports. Additionally, the entire area of ​​Prague Castle will be closed from Oct. 4 to 8. The summit is likely to also affect the schedule of Prague's Václav Havel Airport.

Important topics on the agenda this week will include protecting gas pipelines and critical infrastructure after the damage to the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines.

In related news, Prague and Warsaw asked the European Commission on Friday for funding for a new gas pipeline connecting the Czech Republic to the Polish network and its LNG terminals, Reuters reports, citing the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade. The money for the pipeline would come from EU's REPowerEU funds meant for ending Europe's reliance on Russian energy.

The current energy crisis revived an interconnection plan called Stork II that had been put on the backburner by former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš's administration in 2018. Development of the Stork II pipeline, which would lead from the Czech border to Świnoujście in Poland, will enable further diversification of natural gas deliveries in Europe while reducing the reliance on Russian gas.

Last month, Industry and Trade Minister Jozef Sikela said that Czech gas storage has continued to be filled and had reached 85 percent of capacity since Russia shut its Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Reuters reports. Additionally, the Czech Republic was to receive 3 billion cubic meters, or a third of annual gas capacity, through an LNG terminal in the Netherlands.

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