Top EU officials staying away from Prague Eastern Partnership conference

The head of the European Commission, Jose Barroso, and the president of the European Union, Herman Van Rompuy, have turned down invitations to attend an EU Eastern Partnership conference at Prague Castle on April 24 and 25, Lidové noviny reported on Wednesday. The EU’s foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, is also not coming, the newspaper said. Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said the senior EU officials were currently preoccupied by the Ukraine crisis. Mr. Van Rompuy is due in Prague on April 30, the eve of the 10th anniversary of Czech accession to the EU.