Sunday, September 7, 2008

Three Presidencies agree on broad programme

Brussels, September 2 - The 18 month three consecutive presidency programme was addressed by French, Czech and Swedish ministers today (September 2) at the European Parliament in Brussels. Speaking to journalists, the three ministers highlighted the continuity of the efforts of the presidencies to address issues of vital interest to the European Union.

The Czech Republic during its first six months of 2009, will observe the 20 years of fall of Iron Curtain and five years of the big European enlargement, according to Alexandr Vondra, the Czech Deputy Prime Minister.

The two main issues that his government will pursue will be energy security and building the eastern partnerships. Noting that the US elections will be over then, the Czech presidency will be "looking forward to energising trans-Atlantic co-operation in all areas." "Balkans seems to be somehow forgotten but we along with Sweden will move forward at least with Croatia," the minister said adding, "We expect to move to the final stage the talks with at least Croatia."

Cecilla Malmstrom, Swedish foreign minister called her upcoming second half of 2009 presidency as "most exciting" as it follows the completion of the European parliament elections and the formation of a new European Commission.

Answering a question from New Europe about what the three presidencies are planning to do about the EU's foreign policy which is nothing but a "reconstruction policy," nowadays, the French Europe Minister, Jean-Pierre Jouyet agreed saying, "We can not have a foreign policy just specialised in reconstruction. We need to do some deep thinking about European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) before the end of the year. Europe's response should represent both civilian and military stand points."

Swedish foreign minister lamented the lack of Lisbon Treaty provisions in force saying, "If we had the Treaty, we would have had better machinery and we could have done better," adding, "We have to work on finding and working on specific neighbourhood policy with a very pro-active European policy."

"Political will and commitment are required to do that," she added.

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