Bruton receives Swedish title


FORMER TAOISEACH John Bruton, the European Union's ambassador to Washington, has a new title - Commander Grand Cross of Sweden's Royal Order of the Polar Star.

Mr Bruton received the award - the highest honour Sweden can award to a foreigner - for his service as a former president of the European Council and his work as EU ambassador.

Sweden's ambassador to Washington Jonas Hafstrom presented Mr Bruton with the award, and its handsome blue and yellow sash, on behalf of King Carl Gustav XVI in the presence of Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt.

Mr Bildt said that the EU and Sweden had "benefited tremendously from Ambassador Bruton's diplomatic skills and leadership in the world's political capital".

Mr Bruton said he was "particularly proud to receive the award on the day when the final agreement was reached for the devolution of policing and justice powers in Northern Ireland . . . and allowing the Northern Ireland Executive to meet again . . . for the first time since June".