European Union leaders met in Belgium Friday to give lukewarm support to a new organization designed to promote a shared vision of the EU among its citizens, but also cautioned that challenges persist.
Deputy Prime Minister Zbigniew Ziobro told a news conference before the opening of the two-day EU council meeting that “we are facing a very complicated road with many differences on many issues” and that “solidarity does not come easy.”
He acknowledged, however, that “we have reached a comfortable and fine balance” on financial and security policies and argued that the problem is more about the “segregated EU that takes together economic, security and defense policies of the union but keeps it isolated, ill-equipped and lacks common norms.”
The grouping was meant to champion efforts to integrate the bloc into one economic, financial and defense zone. It plans to hold a summit in November.
But the organization faces serious practical problems, even as advocates see it as a chance to embrace closer economic and security ties even as divisions remain over immigration and a division over the EU’s future.
Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said “the devil is always in the detail” when asked about the common interests of EU nations in their common neighborhood, but he stressed “a Europe that looks to the past is one that will never progress to a bigger Europe.”