US concerned about impact of EU row on Balkans

8th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

8 June 2005, WASHINGTON - The collapse of the European Union constitutional treaty has raised concerns in Washington that the EU's stabilising influence in the volatile Balkans could be undermined, German foreign minister Joschka Fischer said on Tuesday.

8 June 2005

WASHINGTON - The collapse of the European Union constitutional treaty has raised concerns in Washington that the EU's stabilising influence in the volatile Balkans could be undermined, German foreign minister Joschka Fischer said on Tuesday.

Fischer spoke to reporters after a meeting in Washington with Stephen Hadley, national security adviser to US President George W. Bush.

On Wednesday, Fischer is scheduled to meet with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice before returning to Germany. They are expected to discuss the Middle East and Iran's alleged nuclear programme, in their first meeting since Rice became secretary of state in February.

Voters in France and the Netherlands decisively rejected referenda last week on the EU constitution, apparently killing the treaty, which requires agreement by all 25 member countries. The defeat of the constitution has raised questions about the future of the EU.

Prospects for closer cooperation and hopes for eventual membership have helped to stabilise the countries of the former Yugoslavia and steer their governments away from conflict and repression. Similar influences have brought reforms in Romania and Bulgaria.

The aftermath of the EU constitution crisis leaves those influences in doubt.

Fischer said that the entire stabilisation strategy in the Balkans is anchored in those countries' European perspectives. He emphasised that the EU cannot disregard, even temporarily, its commitments in the world, much less responsibilities in Europe.

DPA

Subject: German news

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