The inaugural summit of the European Political Community involves the 27 European Union member countries, aspiring partners in the Balkans and Eastern Europe, as well as neighbors like Britain, the only country to have left the EU, and Turkey.

The leaders of 44 European countries stretching from Iceland all the way to Turkey met Thursday in what many said was a united stand against Russia’s war on Ukraine, as an energy crisis and high inflation fueled by the conflict wreak havoc on their economies.

The inaugural summit of the European Political Community involves the 27 European Union member countries, aspiring partners in the Balkans and Eastern Europe, as well as neighbors like Britain _ the only country to have left the EU _ and Turkey.

Russia is the one major European power not invited, along with its neighbor and supporter in the war Belarus.

“What you will see here is that Europe stands in solidarity against the Russian invasion in Ukraine,” Iceland’s prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, told reporters at Prague Castle in the Czech Republic, where the gathering is taking place.

Her Belgian counterpart, Alexander De Croo, said that “if you just look at the attendance here, you see the importance. The whole European continent is here, except two countries: Belarus and Russia. So it shows how isolated those two countries are.”

© Copyright LaPresse