Nordic, Baltic ministers hope for common EU "platform" on Kosovo

Other News Materials 18 February 2008 00:32 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - The foreign ministers of the EU's Nordic and Baltic member states on Sunday called for a common European Union reaction to Kosovo's declaration of independence ahead of a key EU meeting.

"I hope that we are going to have a platform which is united with virtually everyone (in the EU)," Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said ahead of an evening meeting in Brussels with his Danish, Estonian, Latvian, Polish, Lithuanian and Ukrainian counterparts.

On Monday the foreign ministers of the 27 EU member states are set to meet in Brussels, with efforts to find a common stance on Kosovo by far the most important point on the agenda.

"My hope is to get a platform approved by virtually all. It might not be successful up to the last member," Bildt said.

A common position "would be welcome," Estonia's Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said.

Most EU member states support Kosovo's bid for independence, but a handful - most notably Cyprus and Romania - have said that they will not recognize Kosovo, for fear of encouraging separatists in areas such as Turkish-controlled Cyprus, Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan.

EU foreign-policy chiefs are keen to find a way to bridge that gap on Monday, saying that the bloc cannot afford to be seen as divided in its own backyard.

In an apparent attempt to assuage allies' fears, ministers on Sunday stressed the uniqueness of Kosovo in their eyes.

"Whatever we decide will be sui generis (unique), which means it can't be used as an example anywhere else," Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller said.

Ministers are "concerned to underline our commitment to the territorial integrity" of Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Cyprus, Bildt said.

"The Kosovo case is unique in some ways and has no impact whatsoever on these other frozen conflicts beyond a willingness to see if we can accelerate efforts to overcome these conflicts," he said.