The European Political Community (EPC) (first) met in October 2022 as a gathering of 44 European states. It appears to be a forum in which states talk to each other.

This seems extremely similar to the Council of Europe (CoE), which is an association of 46 European states. It has some budget but not much real power, and has mostly been a forum in which states talk to each other. I think the only membership differences correspond to Monaco, San Marino, and Andorra (in CoE but not in EPC), and Kosovo (in EPC but not in CoE), whereas Russia, Belarus, and Vatican City are in neither.

What is the political rationale (preferably officially stated) for creating the European Political Community when a talking club with almost the same membership already exists in the form of the Council of Europe?


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To some extent it's not entirely clear - in fact, the Council of Europe addressed this in a recent report from the body's High-Level Reflection Group:

The group takes note of the ongoing discussions, among European Union member states, on a future “European Political Community” (EPC) which remains to be defined at the time of writing this report. It notes that such a pan-European political community already exists, in its areas of expertise (human rights, democracy and the rule of law), and it is embodied by the Council of Europe. We therefore recommend a proper articulation of the role of any future EPC and its relationship with the Council of Europe, taking into account their respective areas of intervention. To this end, a joint declaration at a fourth summit could clarify the respective roles of the Council of Europe and of a future EPC.

We can conclude from the first meeting of the European Political Community, however, that so far it seems to be a much more informal summit, structured around fostering conversation between leaders outside of the more formal institutions of the Council of Europe. There is no Parliamentary Assembly, for example, nor a Court of Human Rights. In addition, there was no joint memorandum published after the summit's conclusion - reinforcing the idea that the meeting was intended to foster frank discussions, rather than focussing solely on reaching agreements.

This seems to match up with the objectives for the body discussed at the European Council meeting in June: "to foster political dialogue and cooperation to address issues of common interest so as to strengthen the security, stability and prosperity of the European continent".

Another meeting between leaders has already been pencilled in for Spring 2023. In contrast, the Council of Europe's top-level body - the Committee of Ministers - meets just once a year, and consists of the foreign ministers of member states, rather than the premiers. There have only been three summits of heads of state and government of the Council of Europe - the last being way back in 2005.

In some respects, it remains to be seen whether the EPC will complement the Council of Europe or overlap with it, but so far it seems to be fulfilling a distinct role in the sense of getting top-level decision members around a negotiation table.

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    IIRC Liz Truss was quite vehement the new thing has nothing with the EU. I imagine in some quarters of the conservative British public, the ECHR also has a bad rep, so the new thing having nothing to do with the ECHR may have been a prereq.
    – Fizz
    Oct 7, 2022 at 10:39
  • @Fizz So maybe they founded the EPC because Ms. Truss does not want to be in a group photo with the Flag of Europe in the background (which was used by the CoE long before the EU existed) as her (ex-)voters may confuse it with the Flag of the EU? ;-) (I also wonder if her (ex-)voters know the ECHR is unrelated to the EU?)
    – gerrit
    Oct 7, 2022 at 10:42
  • One article says Truss is even unhappy with "community" word in the name of the EPC. @gerrit: the ECHR has bad rep with conservative voters regardless (also for sovereignty issues though bbc.com/news/uk-politics-25535327).
    – Fizz
    Oct 7, 2022 at 10:43
  • Some of the conservative press even ran polls (the usual/biased kind among its readers) to tell Truss not to attend the EPC express.co.uk/news/politics/1674099/… More concretely, some in the UK suggested "community" be replaced with "forum" in the title bbc.com/news/uk-politics-63080165
    – Fizz
    Oct 7, 2022 at 10:59
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    @Fizz I'm impressed how well-informed the Daily Express readers are, with only one percent saying they don't know if she should join a club most people have never heard of </s>
    – gerrit
    Oct 7, 2022 at 12:53

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