Incoming EU term president Sweden pledges to speed up Turkey's membership talks
Carl Bildt, the foreign minister of Sweden, which is set to take over the rotating term presidency the European Union on July 1, next Wednesday, said yesterday that his country would step up Turkey's EU accession negotiations. Sweden is determined to move forward in negotiations with Turkey, he told a press conference in Brussels. Stressing Turkey's strategic importance for the EU, he said that his EU vision is of a Europe uniting everyone, not one excluding some nations. Bildt said that he was aware of the difficulties of this vision, but that he thought they could be overcome through open debate. On Cyprus, Bildt said that the EU has never been an actor in efforts to resolve the problem, but that he had met the leaders of the two nations on Cyprus and was impressed with their determination to reach a settlement. Bildt also said that the Cyprus problem should be solved under UN auspices, but also expressed the EU's readiness to give technical support.