Politics

Brexit POLL: Should UK join Emmanuel Macron’s new European ‘club’?

Richard Tice responds to Macron's political community comments

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Prime Minister Liz Truss will attend the inaugural summit of the European Political Community (EPC) in Prague on Thursday. Joining the new alliance could benefit UK-EU relations, but is it the right move for Britain? Vote in our poll.

Ms Truss is reportedly sceptical about French President Emmanuel Macron’s “new space” for co-operation, but plans to attend the first meeting on October 6 to ensure the new group does not interfere with NATO or the G7.

Mr Macron shared the concept in May, proposing a club of European democracies working together on energy, transport, security and movement of people.

At the Conference on the Future of Europe, he said: “This new European organisation would allow democratic European nations that subscribe to our shared core values to find a new space for political and security cooperation, cooperation in the energy sector, in transport, investments, infrastructures, the free movement of persons and in particular of our youth.

“Joining it would not prejudge future accession to the European Union necessarily, and it would not be closed to those who have left the EU.

“It would bring our Europe together, respecting its true geography, on the basis of its democratic values, with the desire to preserve the unity of our continent and by preserving the strength and ambition of our integration.”

Officials have invited 27 EU member states and 17 non-EU nations including Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Norway, Switzerland and six Balkan states.

Head of the European Council, Charles Michel, told the Guardian in September that it was obvious the UK should be invited, saying: “The United Kingdom is a friend, a partner, a like-minded partner.”

A senior Whitehall official said this week: “I have not seen any attempt to accommodate the UK in this way since 2016, but there is now a change. The EPC represents a different way of Europeans organising themselves that is distinctive from the EU.”

The EPC is the first push for a separate forum for diplomacy since Brexit and Ms Truss’ attendance could be an important step to providing positive outcomes for the UK.

Her spokesman said on Monday: “The prime minister is very clear that she wants to use this meeting to deliver concrete long-term action on priority issues for the United Kingdom.”

Ms Truss has reportedly already offered to host the next meeting in London and wants to change the group’s name to be a “forum” instead of a “community”.

The platform has been accused by critics as another way for the EU to exert power over the continent and some of Ms Truss’ aids are reportedly concerned about joining another European club after Brexit.

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Before Ms Truss confirmed her attendance, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told Politico that the UK did not feel the need “to be a member of more institutions in the European sphere”.

Remainer and former Cabinet minister David Lidington said on Thursday that such a move to join the EPC would be a “very welcome development”.

The club would bring the UK closer to Europe, despite distancing itself since voting to leave the EU in 2016.

The summit comes as the UK resumes Brexit talks with the EU on the Northern Ireland protocol.

So what do YOU think? Should Britain join the European Political Community? Should Britain be in the European Union? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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