European Union officials on Monday raised concerns over hard-line prime minister designate Benjamin Netanyahu's commitment to pursuing genuine peace talks with Palestinians.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said he was worried Netanyahu's talks with other right-wing parties to form a coalition could halt peace talks with Palestinians.

Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra said he expects a rough start once a new Israeli government takes office, warning a two-state peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians was narrowing now that Netanyahu is likely to form a government.

The EU's 27 foreign ministers were discussing peace efforts in the Middle East at talks Monday.

Netanyahu pledged on Sunday to work with United States President Barack Obama for Middle East peace by pursuing the formation of a broad coalition government.

Netanyahu, 59, has said he wants to shift the focus of stalled, U.S.-sponsored peace talks with the Palestinians away from tough territorial issues to shoring up their economy, an approach their leaders have rejected.

As prime minister from 1996 to 1999, he clashed with the Clinton administration but bowed to U.S. pressure and handed over parts of the West Bank city of Hebron to Palestinian rule.

While not ruling out a Palestinian state, he has said it must have limited powers ensuring it is demilitarized.