Iraq and Tsunami on EU Agenda

Elections in Iraq and the Asian tsunami disaster were on the agenda as Foreign Ministers from the European Union met in Brussels Monday.

EU Foreign Ministers are united in the belief that there needs to be more coordination with in the Union in handling future catastrophes. Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds says that aid and help need to be more efficiently coordinated within the bloc.

Many EU countries were criticized for not being efficient in their handling of the Asian tsunami disaster and Sweden has suggested a common EU rescue services agency.

Some EU members have opposed the idea though saying they don’t want the Union to have more control of national aircraft and first aid equipment. 

EU Hails Iraqi Elections 

At the same time, the EU foreign ministers council hailed Iraq’s elections as a great day for Iraqis and a ”powerful signal” for the region, while urging its new authorities to protect the rights of minorities, notably Sunni Muslims. Laila Freivalds pointed out that it was now time for Iraq to build up democratic institutions.

On the eve of the polls the European Commission proposed a new US $260-million-dollar aid package for Iraq, saying it wanted to be a ”significant partner” for the new Iraqi administration.