New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs visits Stockholm
On 15 December the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Murray McCully, visited Stockholm for the six-monthly consultations with the European Union.
Sweden currently holds the EU Presidency. The talks were the first ministerial consultations with the EU since the EU's Lisbon Treaty entered into force, and were an important opportunity to reinforce New Zealand's relations with Europe. Mr McCully said after the talks that he had made very good progress in exploratory discussions towards a comprehensive agreement between New Zealand and the EU, and that he expected to be able to move discussions to the next phase by mid-2010.
During his time in Stockholm Mr McCully also gave a well-attended speech to the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (Utrikespolitiska Institutet) entitled "New Zealand: a bridge between Europe and Asia", the Ambassador hosted a dinner for him, and New Zealanders registered with the Embassy had the opportunity to meet the Minister over drinks at the Official Residence.
The Minister's speech is available at the official website of the New Zealand Government.