Prime Minister of Iceland Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson is currently on an official visit to Brussels for the first time since Iceland terminated accession talks with the EU in March, where he met with President of the European Council Donald Tusk today and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday.
At the meetings, Iceland’s new position towards the EU was discussed, as well as cooperation between Iceland and the EU in Arctic regions and through the EEA agreement, ruv.is reports.
In an interview with RÚV, Sigmundur described Iceland-EU relations as close. “They’re just as close as they used to be and also more relaxed than they would have been [had Iceland still been an applicant for becoming a member state].”
The PM added that the meeting with Juncker had been pleasing. “We can see how difficult the situation within the union is right now. So it was clear that he thought it was a welcome relief to talk with a friendly country which wanted to work with the EU in a constructive way instead of dealing with the complicated issues of member states.”
Sigmundur stated that he had not felt pressured by Juncker to reconsider Iceland’s position on continued accession talks. “Not at all. I believe that he and many others within the EU realize that this arrangement is good for both Iceland and the EU.”
Regarding Greece, the PM stated that it is unavoidable that they leave the Euro zone. The leaders of all 28 EU member states have been called to a meeting in Brussels on Sunday. The economic consequences are expected to be wide-reaching.
“We are following it day by day. We will of course feel the impact of it if it starts a severe downturn, an economic downturn in Europe,” Sigmundur told RÚV.
“It’s a reminder for us, on the one hand of … keeping our own economic system in order to be able to deal with blows like these, and, on the other, of trading with countries all around the globe to reduce the risk of [economic consequences] if the European economy gets into severe trouble,” the PM concluded.