Absence of Russia and Belarus at European summit shows how “isolated” they are, says Belgian leader

The Prime Minister of Belgium, Alexander de Croo, has highlighted Thursday the absence of Russia and Belarus at the summit that brings together 44 European countries as proof of how “isolated” these two regimes are from the rest of the continent.

“The entire European continent is here except for two countries, Russia and Belarus, which shows how isolated they are,” De Croo has indicated to the press upon his arrival at the first meeting of the so-called ‘European Political Community’.

“I am not against other countries joining as long as they respect the same values,” he continued, to stress that this is the reason why neither Russia nor Belarus have been invited.

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De Croo has defended that stability in Europe is at stake and this shows the need to “talk to each other” in the framework of this new platform as a forum to address key issues such as energy and security. The situation after the Russian invasion of Ukraine “shows that there is a lot to talk about,” the Belgian liberal said.

Although the idea of this new community came from the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, and was later blessed by the rest of the 27, from the European Union are at pains to stress that it is not an integration project parallel to enlargement, but an “intergovernmental process” in which all have equal weight.

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In addition to the 27 EU member states, the six Balkan countries (Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro), the United Kingdom, the four EFTA countries (Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein), Ukraine and Moldova, which already have candidate status, as well as Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, have been invited to the meeting.

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