March 25, 2023

European Union leaders will meet with their counterparts from outside the bloc on Thursday and Friday in Prague to discuss ways to respond to the tragic aftermath of the Russian war in Ukraine, according to a statement by European Council President Charles Michel. .

“In a few days we will meet in Prague for two important events: the first meeting of the European Political Group on October 6 and an informal meeting of the European Council the next day,” Michel said Sunday in an invitation to European Union leaders. .

“We have agreed to create a European political group to bring the countries of the continent closer together,” he added. The leaders of 17 countries were invited to participate, namely Great Britain, Turkey, six countries of the Western Balkans, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

“Our goal is to bring leaders together as equals and to promote political dialogue and cooperation on issues of common interest so that we work together to ensure security, stability and prosperity throughout Europe,” Michel stressed.

The meeting begins with a plenary session on Thursday at 13:00 (11:00 GMT) at Prague Castle, followed by “round tables and bilateral meetings,” according to Michel. He explained that this first meeting of the European political group will end with a working dinner, but “an official written result” is not expected from him.

Then on Friday, the leaders of the 27 EU countries will meet for an informal summit, during which they will discuss “three urgent and interrelated issues: Russia’s war in Ukraine, energy and the economic situation,” according to Michel.

“We will discuss ways to continue to provide reliable economic, military, political and financial support to Ukraine for as long as necessary, and we will discuss how best to protect our critical infrastructure,” he said.

He stressed that the consultations should “address high prices for households and businesses, support growth and jobs, and protect vulnerable people who suffer the most from high energy bills.”

And Michel believed that “the key will be our ability to stay united and coordinate our political response in a spirit of solidarity and protect our common interests.”

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