EU foreign policy chief expects 'strong' relationship with Britain

17th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

The EU's foreign policy chief said Monday she expects to have a "strong" relationship with Britain's new government, led by the Conservative Party which has long been sceptical about European integration.

"With Britain, we will have a good and strong relationship, I am sure," Britain's Catherine Ashton, who was nominated by Britain's previous Labour administration, told a news conference at a EU-Latin America summit in Madrid.

She said she had spoken with British Foreign Minister William Hague before the weekend and planned to hold bilateral talks with him at the summit.

"Our relationship will be fine. I will work with all the foreign ministers of all 27 members states with no exception," Ashton added.

Writing in a column for the Europe's World magazine, Hague said the coalition government would negotiate "firmly, patiently and respectfully" with EU partners to repatriate some of the powers the European Union has gained in recent years on justice, social and employment issues.

Britain's Conservative Party has formed a coalition government with the pro-EU Liberal Democrats in order to have a majority in parliament following a general election earlier this month.

Tensions over Britain's role in the EU severely undermined the last Conservative administration under John Major, which ended in 1997.

© 2010 AFP

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