Leaders from 47 countries and the EU met on June 1 for the second European Political Community (EPC) summit at Mimi Castle in Bulboaca, Moldova. On the agenda were "peace and security, energy resilience and climate action, and interconnections in Europe". Commentators discuseds the potential of the summit and the EPC as a whole.

Transnistria in focus

The venue for the summit was carefully chosen, according to the Romanian service of Germany’s Deutsche Welle:

“The castle is located a few kilometres from Transnistria - a breakaway pro-Russian region on the territory of the Republic of Moldova, where the remnants of Russia's 14th Army are stationed as well as the largest weapons depot in Europe (in the village of Cobasna), which is guarded by Russian soldiers. The fact that the European leaders are meeting there seems to be a response to Russia's attempts to foment fear in Europe. ... But the meeting also sends a signal of solidarity with Moldova, because Russia is trying to destabilise the republic by exerting influence and with dirty money, propaganda and other elements of hybrid warfare.”


EU wants to support Moldova against hybrid threats

RFI România says the summit sends a strong signal against targeted disinformation:

“The summit is a form of support for the efforts of President Maia Sandu and her government in the fight against aggression based on disinformation, divisive tactics and the fuelling of social movements. It is therefore not surprising that publications, politicians and opinion leaders known for pro-Russian attitudes in Romania are raising their voices loudly against the president in Chișinău. ... But that is precisely why the meeting of the 47 European leaders in Chișinău is the strongest response to Moscow. ... An EU civilian mission has already started its work in Chișinău to respond to the hybrid threats from Moscow.”

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A meaningful forum for a robust Europe

The EPC aims to help settle regional conflicts, the Netherlands’ NRC comments:

“With the war in Ukraine, people have become aware that Europe is more than just the EU. It is a geographical space that, for all its differences, also shares similar interests. It is, as Alexandre Adam, former European advisor to Macron, wrote, a community of interests rather than a community of fate. The EPC can try to identify these interests - for example security issues and cyber threats - and contribute to the resolution of regional conflicts. In short, the EPC is meant to increase Europe's defenses against the threat of Russia and other dangers.”


Real prospect of peace in Nagorno-Karabakh

Ukrainian political scientist Ihor Zalenko writes in Estonia’s Eesti Päevaleht that the summit

“also holds the possibility of concluding a peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia. ... Despite attempts by Moscow and Tehran to disrupt the negotiation process, Baku - with the active cooperation of Brussels and Washington - is striving to normalise relations with its neighbours and open up regional transport routes. This concerns above all the Zangezur corridor project. If it is opened, the EU will have a direct transport route to China that bypasses Russia - via Turkey, Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea and Central Asia. Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Azerbaijan has become one of the most important countries when it comes to replacing Russian energy resources on the European market.”


 Learning from its mistakes

Switzerland’s Le Temps recalls a project of the same name proposed by French President François Mitterrand after the fall of the Berlin Wall:

“It was a failure: the countries of Central and Eastern Europe saw it as an antechamber designed to delay their accession to the EU. This time the bloc is keeping a low profile. It wants a structured dialogue with the candidate countries from the Balkans and the former Soviet republics Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, but also with heavyweights like Britain and Turkey as well as countries that are powerful in the fields of energy (Norway) or finance (Switzerland). ... The EU is not presenting itself as a bloc with predetermined shared positions, even though it is providing logistical and financial support.”

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10 square miles of it?