Truss to attend European Political Community meeting despite criticism of it

It comes as new mini-Budget causes political and financial turmoil

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Friday 30 September 2022 00:16 BST
Comments
'We are going to help people': Kwasi Kwarteng remains confident in mini-Budget

Liz Truss is expected to attend a meeting of the European Political Community, months after the prime minister criticised the Prague summit in her previous role.

It is understood that the prime minister has changed her mind about the meeting because it will focus on two high-priority issues on Ms Truss’s agenda: energy and migration.

The October summit is French president Emmanuel Macron’s scheme to bring together EU nations and countries outside the bloc.

Truss to attend European Political Community meeting despite criticism of it
Truss to attend European Political Community meeting despite criticism of it (PA Wire)

It is believed that the prime minister feels the need to see to now work with other leaders to tackle the crises being fought at home, exacerbated further after chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget spooked markets and shocked mainstream economists over its £45bn of tax cuts.

But her attendance will raise eyebrows given Ms Truss‘s explicit scepticism about the project only a few months ago as foreign secretary.

It has been reported that Number 10 had been pondering whether to attend the meeting in recent weeks, with European Union ambassador Joao Vale de Almeida using an appearance at a fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool to urge Ms Truss to attend.

The decision to attend comes with the EU and the UK still deadlocked over the Northern Ireland Protocol, with the government’s plan to rip up the post-Brexit arrangements in the region causing major ill-feeling between London and Brussels.

Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng
Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng (PA Wire)

Ms Truss is seeking to strike a rapport with European leaders including European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and Mr Macron after meeting the pair at a UN summit in New York.

It comes after Ms Truss courted controversy during the Tory leadership contest by answering “the jury’s out” on whether Mr Macron was “friend or foe”.

As foreign secretary in June, she also said she did not “buy into” a Europe-wide political community.

But news website Politico, which first reported Ms Truss‘s planned attendance, said the prime minister was even willing to host the next summit of the political group in London.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in