General Affairs Council: extracts from the arrivals and doorsteps
Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - EC
End production: 22/04/2013 First transmission: 22/04/2013
On 22 April, EU Minister for Foreign Affairs are gathering for General Affairs Council.
Arriving at the Council, the EU Minister for Foreign Affairs congratulated Serbia and Kosovo for progress achieved in their negotiations talks.
Serbia and its former breakaway province Kosovo reached a landmark reconciliation agreement Friday, after months of talks overseen by the European Union aimed a normalizing relations between the Balkan neighbours.
The Council discussed these improvments made in relations with Serbia and Kosovo.
The Council also took note of the Commission’s report on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
Finally, it hear a presentation on an initiative on democracy, human rights and rule of law.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||SOUNDBITE (in English) Eamon Gilmore, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland and President-in-office of the Council: Progress has been made, as you know, last week, on the Pristina-Belgrade discussions. So that should clear the way for a discussion today. We will have a report from the Commission on the outcome of those discussions and on the assessment of what needs to be done. Really what will happen here, I expect that we will move to discuss when accession discussion can start with Serbia and when discussions can start for an association agreement for Kosovo. That is the issue of enlargement.
||SOUNDBITE (in German) Jean Asselborn, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Luxemburg, saying that: It is a main outcome, it is a solid progress but we still have to discuss that. In EU, a process will begin regarding talks for an association agreement for Kosovo and potentially an accession talks for Serbia.
||SOUNDBITE (in French) Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign, External Trade and European Affairs of Belgium, saying that: I hope that everybody will be positive because I was in Belgrade and Pristine and I witnessed their willingness to reach an agreement which is signed now. So, I think we should do everything to go forward It will be long discussion, for the accession of Serbia as well as the association agreement for Kosovo. It is a step forward that we have to take into account. It has not been easy for both countries.
||SOUNDBITE (in English) Frans Timmermans, Dutch Minister for Foreign Affairrs: Let's look at t very carefully. I want to listen to and hear a report but I want to tell you that I am very positive about this step and I compliment both parties for having taken this historic step.
||Catherine Ashton, Vice-president of the European Commission and high representative of the Union for foreign affairs and security policy.
||János Martony, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary
||Vesna Pusic, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia
||Guido Westermelle, Federal Minister for Foreign affairs of Germany
||SOUNDBITE (in English) Guido Westermelle saying that: I congratulated Serbia and also Kosovo for their agreement; this is a good step that we respect. It still needs to be implemented, we hope that it will be so. I congratulated also the work of Catherine Ashton.