Foreign Minister of Iceland Össur Skarphéðinsson harshly criticized ideas that are being debated within the European Union to impose sanctions against Iceland and the Faroe Islands because of their dispute with Norway and EU states on their share of the joint mackerel fishing quota at the meeting of the EEA Council on Monday.
Össur Skarphéðinsson. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Present at the meeting were representatives of the EFTA countries and Denmark on behalf of the EU, Fréttablaðið reports.
“I criticized the resolution of the fisheries committee of the European Parliament and the draft that has been presented on possible actions that may be taken against Iceland and the Faroe Islands,” Össur said, adding that he had stated clearly that Iceland is against overfishing and emphasizes resolving the matter.
The minister reasoned that some of the actions that are up for debate are at odds with the regulations of the World Trade Organization, the internal market to which Iceland is party, and especially Article 9 in the EEA agreement.
“I said it was not to raise the credibility of the EEA on the agreement’s 20th anniversary if the EU is to take illegal actions against us in the mackerel dispute. I said I couldn’t believe they would actually go through with it,” Össur continued.
The minister stated that from what he understood his Norwegian counterpart Jonas Gahr Støre implied in his speech that any actions undertaken would be in compliance with the EEA agreement, which he found pleasing.
Click here to read more about the mackerel dispute.