National briefings & comments

Article published on Dec. 15, 2007
Article published on Dec. 15, 2007
After the busy Summit talks delegations highlighted the issues of their concern on national press conferences Germany The German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she welcomed the prospected deployment of a civilian mission in Kosovo.
The Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier assured that the Mission is to bring security and stabilization to the Western Balkans and “does not stand in contradiction with the independence” (of the region).

The Chancellor welcomed also the establishment of the “wise man” group, stressing however, that the issue of further EU enlargement, which France would like the group to deal with, belongs to politicians.


Sarkozy1.JPG French President Nicolas Sarkozy during his speech after the summit acknowledged that a 1,800-strong EU civilian mission will be sent to Kosovo, adding that the breakaway Serbian province's independence is perceived as inevitable. Sarkozy also told the journalists that the newly established “wise man” group would discuss on the future EU borders, but not specifically Turkey’s case (which accession he opposes).

Speaking of Serbia, the French president stressed that it has to hand over war crime suspects and respect Kosovo independence (if the province declares it), should it want to join the EU. He added however, that EU also “must send a positive signal to Serbia”.


Gordon_Brown1.jpg Photo: The Council of the European Union

At the end of his first EU summit as UK’s Prime Minister, Gordon Brown welcomed the fact that with the signing of the Lisbon Treaty “institutional change” is eventually off the agenda “for the foreseeable future” and insisted to focus on the economy, security and environmental issues. “Now the Union can concentrate on the challenges ahead, including economic reform and more transparency in our financial markets” he told the reporters.

He stressed the need to face other challenges, saying: “Europe has moved to discuss jobs, prosperity, the environment and security, and to take its responsibilities in Kosovo, Iran and Burma”. Concerning the “reflection group” Mr. Brown would expect it to look at the long-term issues facing Europe, such as migration, the environment and economy, and not to discuss institutions or the future EU boundaries.


Polish_delegation1.JPG Attending the European Council for the first time, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk did not hide his astonishment of the “genuine, sincere” welcome he received from other EU leaders. He also disclosed that he was congratulated for the attempt to repair the Poland’s tense relations with Russia, which announced a lift of the ban on Polish meat the following week. The Prime Minister added, that should Russia lift the remaining ban on products derived form plants (which may happen even in January 2008), he will “with great satisfaction inform, that we can lift the veto for EU-Russia talks on future cooperation agreement”, as “the reason why Poland vetoed the talks will disappear”.

Donald Tusk said during a press conference after the summit, that he was however most happy with the EU green light to enhance the political dialogue and cooperation with EU eastern neighbours, such as Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and – in a longer perspective – Belarus. The cooperation could take a multilateral form, similar to the existing Euro-med or Black Sea forums, suggested Tusk. Polish delegation backed the plan to send a civilian mission to Kosovo and expressed readiness of Poles to take part in that mission.

Wladyslaw Manteuffel