Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Tuesday, May 28, 2024
Home » European Political Community: Spain Meeting Marks Failure of Mass Diplomacy

European Political Community: Spain Meeting Marks Failure of Mass Diplomacy

by Leighton Pearce

One of the most awaited political events of the season, the third summit of the European Political Community (EPC), wrapped up last Friday in just two hours.

It ended with a canceled press conference and an embarrassing silence, leaving many wondering why more than 40 European leaders and 700 journalists had to show up in the Spanish city of Granada.

Proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron, one of the most fervent opponents of EU enlargement, the EPC was meant to be a pan-European platform for leaders across the continent to hold strategic discussions on Europe’s security, stability and prosperity.

Discussions at the first two EPC meetings – this June in Moldova and last October in the Czech Republic’s capital Prague – were dominated by pledges of support for Ukraine in the war against Russia.

With other conflicts flaring up in the region, the third EPC meeting presented a timely opportunity to advance the platform’s ambitious goals of ensuring peace on the continent.

In reality, though, the EPC could not even get the parties in these conflicts to start a conversation with each other, a failure that strengthens the view that diplomatic breakthroughs are not made at public events of such scale.

Kosovo’s President Vjosa Osmani refused to hold talks with her Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic unless the EU imposes sanctions on Belgrade over escalating tensions and what Pristina claims is a plot to annex northern Kosovo.

Kosovo and its supporters have criticized the EU for being lenient on Serbia’s reluctance to take steps for de-escalation since June.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a long-term ally of Vucic, ruled out EU sanctions on Serbia, terming Kosovo’s demands “ridiculous” and “impossible.”

Orban made it clear that he would oppose any sanctions, which require a unanimous vote from 27 EU members.

The EPC summit also offered a chance for negotiations between the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia, after Baku regained full control over its territory of Karabakh last month with counterterrorism actions in the area, which resulted in the surrender of illegal armed groups, ending a decades-long conflict.

However, the EPC failed on the front too, as France insisted on talks between five parties: Azerbaijan, Armenia, France, Germany and the EU.

France refused to include Azerbaijan’s ally, Türkiye, or the host Spain, leading to a deadlock that eventually led to a collapse of the proposed talks.

Instead of being cornered by the openly pro-Armenian France, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev chose not to attend the EPC summit, just like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Talks between Baku and Yerevan will resume later this month in Brussels in a tripartite format with the mediation of European Council President Charles Michel.

This meant the only major point left on the EPC agenda was to reaffirm backing for Ukraine, which was much needed after the recent US budget deal failed to include financial support for Kyiv.

However, Jean-Claude Juncker, a former chief of the European Commission, hijacked even this effort.

In an interview published right before the beginning of the summit, he came out and said that Ukraine is “corrupt at all levels of society” and the EU should not make “false promises” of enlargement to Kyiv.

Source: AA

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