Swedish EU Presidency Leaves Balkan Disputes to Balkan NationsBulgaria in EU | June 22, 2009, Monday // 16:29| views
Sweden's Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, has said the Balkan states must resolve their issues among themselves. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Sweden's Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, said Monday in Brussels that the Swedish Presidency of the EU, which starts July 1, is not going to going to be proactive in solving the various Balkan disputes that hold back EU enlargement.
According to Bildt, it is the Balkan states themselves that need to resolve their bilateral issues.
In 2008, Slovenia blocked Croatia's accession negotiations over a maritime border dispute. At the same time, Macedonia has not started formal entry talks, even though it has been invited to, largely due to opposition by Greece over the Macedonia's name dispute.
Serbia, which has not been recognized as a formal EU candidate country yet, faces a demand by the Netherlands that it should find and hand over to the Hague Tribunal the Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic.
Turkey is the other Balkan EU candidate country but its negotiations are proceeding slowly over a number of issues.
"Responsibility for solving bilateral issues rests primarily with the countries concerned. You can't expect the world to solve your bilateral issues. We can't and don't intend to impose solutions on anyone," Bildt said as quoted by BGNES.
Bildt did say, however, he hoped that under the Swedish EU Presidency, the EU would sign a free trade agreement with the Ukraine.
Sweden has assumed the rotating EU Presidency from the Czech Republic, and will hold it from July 1 until December 31, 2009.
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