Wednesday, 22nd July 2009
Sweden's Foreign Affairs Minister made a coment about visa exemptions, Cyprus question, Iceland's membership application and situacion in Iran and Honduras
At the meeting of the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs, Sweden's Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Bildt presents the Swedish Presidency. He said that citizens of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro will be able to travel freely in the Schengen area from 1 January 2010 and made a coment about decision to exclude Bosnia-Herzegovina from a plan to waive visa requirements.
„Bosnian citizens are the victims of the political incapability of their leaders, who have not taken the necessary decisions, notably on biometric passports. This is not a new problem", Mr Bildt replied to MEPs.
The European Commission's recent decision to exclude Bosnia-Herzegovina from a plan to waive visa requirements was criticized by many MEPs.
MEPs questioned Mr Bildt on the political crisis in Honduras, the situation in Iran, visa exemptions for the Balkan countries and the Cyprus question.
About Cyprus, Mr Bildt said: „The EU cannot really play a role in the current negotiations. Tthis was a matter for the two Cypriot leaders, Mehmet Ali Talat and Demetris Christofias”.
The minister nonetheless observed that the EU must satisfy itself that the Ankara Protocol, which requires Turkey to open its ports and airports to all EU members including Cyprus, is being implemented.
Very probably tommorow Iceland should table its EU membership application.
„Iceland's membership application would be treated like any other, even though its transposition of the acquis communautaire is very advanced. Iceland's accession would bring the EU into direct contact with the environmentally important arctic region, with its new shipping routes ", said Mr Bildt.
About political crisis in Honduras Mr Bildt said: „Our policy is to support the mediation begun by President Arias. We are not setting out to break off relations with this country, but if it proves necessary, then we shall do so".
Replying to Austrian Green Ulrike Lunacek, who urged that the EU should not be represented at the investiture of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, scheduled to take place between 2 and 6 August, Mr Bildt acknowledged his difficulty in replying to this question, but added that he himself „did not feel far from the position expressed by the member". Nor did Mr Bild wish to state a position on the request to hold a referendum on the legitimacy of the new government proposed by reformist former President Mohammad Khātamī.