Can the European Political Community be a bridge between the UK and the EU?

Think tank: Centre for European Reform

Author(s): Luigi Scazzieri

April 28, 2023

This report from UK think tank the Centre for European Reform looks at the European Political Community (EPC) and Europe’s newest political forum.

The European Political Community (EPC) is Europe’s newest political forum. The first EPC summit in Prague in October 2022 showcased its potential as a platform for dialogue between a large and diverse group of European leaders, and as a means of fostering closer UK-EU ties. This Centre for European Reform policy brief, ‘Can the European Political Community be a bridge between the UK and the EU?’, kindly supported by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Luigi Scazzieri, senior research fellow at the CER, argues that the EPC could help rebuild trust after the acrimony of the Brexit years, promote closer dialogue and help the EU and the UK discuss and address shared challenges. The paper argues that the EPC’s longer-term future and its ability to bring the EU and the UK together are still unclear. All EPC members agree that it can be useful as a forum for informal discussions on common challenges between a broad group of European leaders. The question is whether the EPC can become more than that, and serve as a platform for pan-European co-operation and co-ordination. The main risk to the EPC’s success, including its ability to facilitate UK-EU co-operation, is that leaders will lose interest in the EPC, causing it to sputter out. That would be particularly likely if the EU institutions became closely involved in the EPC, as that would scare the current British government off. A separate risk is that the EPC comes to be seen as an alternative to enlargement, as that would irk many eastern EU states and candidate countries. The EPC’s potential to foster closer UK-EU relations would be strengthened if it becomes more than a platform for dialogue and serves as an ‘incubator’ for concrete co-operation projects in areas such as energy security, countering hybrid threats or securing critical raw materials.