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Leaders from more than 40 countries are gathering in Prague for an inaugural summit of a continental forum aimed at bringing Europe together in the face of Russia's war in Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis.
The stated aim of the European Political Community -- a brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron -- is to improve cooperation between European Union countries and nonmembers such as Britain, Turkey, and the states of the Western Balkans and the Caucasus region.
Among those set to meet in Prague Castle on October 6 are the leaders of Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, and Switzerland.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal is set to attend in person while President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is due to join by video.
The gathering has been billed by Brussels as a "platform for political coordination," but despite the rhetoric, few concrete results are expected from the summit.
Russia, which is not invited, will loom over the meeting as discussions focus on the economic and security fallout from its invasion of Ukraine.
The meeting is likely be dominated by differences about how to cap gas prices to contain soaring energy costs driven by the war.
The group meets for a plenary session followed by a family photograph.
Participants will then hold several smaller roundtable discussions on security, energy, climate, and the economy.
Participants are then expected to outline the conclusions during a working dinner.
While the usefulness of the meeting has been doubted by observers, some say the the most important events will be the bilateral meetings held on the sidelines.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has said he will meet Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev together with Macron and EU chief Charles Michel in Prague to discuss their ongoing conflict over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Countries pushing to join the EU -- Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, and the Western Balkan states -- have had reservations about the event, concerned that it could end up being a consolation prize to replacing serious membership discussions.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's attendance has also been viewed with reluctance by EU members Greece and Cyprus, who have long-standing disputes with Ankara.
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