Incoming EU presidency says Croatia′s accession talks on ice | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 22.06.2009
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Incoming EU presidency says Croatia's accession talks on ice

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt says the European Union is putting Croatia's EU entry talks on ice after the country failed to resolve a border spat with neighboring Slovenia.

The Croatian flag behind the EU stars

Zagreb will have to wait longer than expected for EU status

Setting out the main priorities for Sweden's upcoming six-month EU presidency, Bildt told a news conference in Brussels on Monday that the Croatia-Slovenia issue was a bilateral matter, and that no fresh attempts would be made to settle the border dispute.

"I think now is the time for a period of reflection in both countries. This is a bilateral dispute," he said, adding it was primarily up to Slovenia and Croatia to resolve the row, which dates back to the 1991 break-up of Yugoslavia.

Last week an EU mediation bid to resolve a land-and-sea border dispute between Croatia and EU member Slovenia collapsed.

Croatia applied for European Union membership in 2003, and the European Commission recommended making it an official candidate in early 2004.

After the Irish referendum, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in June 2008 that the EU will not expand beyond 27 states without reform of the current Treaty of Nice rules even though the treaty allows for such an enlargement.

Meanwhile, the Swedish foreign minister has offered Iceland the chance of a fast-track EU memberships - obviously one nation's misfortune is another's gain. Bildt said there were only a "few points" which have to be settled.

nrt/Reuters/AP

Editor: Nick Amies

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