The late Mikhail Gorbachev was a leader adored abroad but loathed by many at home. Liz Truss currently enjoys a limited reputation both on Old Blighty and the continent. After all, she was one of the ministers most in favour of unilaterally rewriting the Northern Ireland protocol. However, Truss now appears to be attempting to salvage her reputation overseas. How? By confirming her attendance at the inaugural summit of the European Political Community (EPC) next week in Prague. 

Proposed by President Macron earlier this year, the grouping aims to unite EU members with membership candidates like Ukraine, the Baltic states and former members like the, err, UK. The main proposals up for discussion include Russia’s war in Ukraine and energy security, though Truss is also keen to focus on migration. Rhetoric is everything, with the Prime Minister keen to present the meeting as a forum rather than a community. 

The move is a fascinating one. Since 2016, the UK government has prioritised distancing links between London and Brussels by putting up trade barriers. Though the meeting at Prague Castle will last only two days, it is an intriguing sign this trend may be changing. Back in June, Truss told the Commons as Foreign Secretary the UK was not interested in this project, aiming to utilise relations through NATO and the G7. 

Indeed, such is Truss’ sudden u-turn that her advisers have now offered to host the forum’s next summit in Britain – quite a turn-up for the books. Given the huge security operation required to manage world leaders for the Queen’s funeral, hosting a continent wide summit should be a walk in the park.