EU to work on European Geopolitical Community
The European Council chief says the EU will start working on a European political space that would act as a waiting room in the course of joining the bloc.
The EU announced on Wednesday that it would work to create a "European Geopolitical Community" that would serve as a waiting room with privileges for neighboring countries hoping to join the bloc.
European Council chief Charles Michel pledged to put the project on track around the middle of the year, providing more details about an idea put forward by French President Emmanuel Macron to the members of the European Parliament last week.
"I will propose that a conference be held around or after the summer" that would bring together EU leaders and partner countries "to discuss the concrete options," Michel told the bloc's advisory European Economic and Social Committee.
The European Council chief explained that "the aim is to forge convergence and deepen operational cooperation to address common challenges, peace, stability and security on our continent."
EU, its neighbors to coordinate closely
Macron, addressing the European Parliament on May 9, described a European "community" that would have at its core the EU but also include countries in its orbit, such as Ukraine and Britain.
The French President presented it as a structure that would get the EU and its neighbors to coordinate closely on common issues and possibly extend some advantages of the bloc to them.
This comes as Ukraine and Western Balkan countries are hoping to swiftly join the EU.
Sebastien Maillard, director of the Jacques Delors Institute think tank, pointed out that the community idea was first raised in 1989 by then-French President Francois Mitterrand.
It was seen as "a European political space beyond the European Union that could be a first step towards joining or, according to the wishes of the country, an alternative to that," according to Maillard.
European Council Chief Charles Michel said he foresaw the structure holding summits at least twice a year, and with foreign ministers from neighboring countries sitting alongside EU counterparts for regular meetings.