Britain plans to attend the first meeting of countries that could be part of the project for a “European political community” presented by French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this year.
Czech EU Minister Mikuláš Bek, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council, said Britain would be invited to this first meeting, along with representatives from Israel and the Balkans. This first meeting will take place next month in Prague.
The Prague summit is due to take place on October 6, the last day of the Conservative Party’s annual conference in Birmingham, which will be the first opportunity for the new British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, to present her government’s priorities.
Turkey, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan should also be invited to this summit.
The idea of a political forum bringing together non-EU countries but sharing their commercial, political and rule of law values was raised earlier this year by French President Emanuel Macron. Mrs Truss initially ruled out any UK involvement, although her predecessor Boris Johnson expressed some enthusiasm for it.
British officials are seeking assurances that the forum will not be dominated by EU institutions and political leaders.
A trade deal with the US will not be done for several years, Ms Truss admitted on Monday (September 19).
On her way to New York, where she was due to hold bilateral meetings with US President Joe Biden and EU leaders and attend the UN General Assembly, Mrs Truss told reporters that“there are currently no ongoing negotiations with the US and I do not expect them to begin in the short or medium term”.
A trade deal with the US has always been held up as an example of how Britain should renew its trading relationship after leaving the EU. The US is currently the UK’s fifth largest export market.
Ms Truss was quickly promoted after the Brexit vote in June 2016 and tasked with brokering post-Brexit trade deals between the UK and third countries between 2019 and 2021. These include deals with New Zealand, Canada and Australia and all former British colonies.
However, momentum for a UK-US deal has waned since Joe Biden beat Donald Trump in the November 2020 presidential race, prompting British officials to admit it is no longer a priority in Washington as Mr Trump has promised an ambitious trade pact. with London.