The European Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn announced yesterday that he finds it natural for Iceland and Croatia to join the European Union simultaneously if both states prove prepared for membership at the same time.
The European Central Bank in Frankfurt. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.
According to RÚV, the European Commission could deliver an evaluation on Iceland’s potential to become an EU member state as early as December this year.
A report on the progress of EU enlargement was presented yesterday. The report states that membership negotiations with Croatia can be completed next year, although Croatian authorities have yet to prevent corruption and organized crime in their country. Zagreb promises that measures to that end will be completed next year.
The report does not state when Croatia is expected to join the EU, but it is generally assumed that Croatia will formally become the 28th member state in 2012.
In a press conference in Brussels yesterday, Rehn mentioned that Iceland’s membership application has added new value to the interest in joining the EU—to secure financial stability.
When asked whether Iceland could join the EU at the same time as Croatia, Rehn replied that it would be sensible from the EU’s viewpoint, provided both states are prepared to join at the same time.
For that to happen, Iceland must finish its “homework” rapidly. Icelandic authorities are currently answering an EU questionnaire and then it will take the European Commission one or two months to respond to Iceland’s answers.
If everything goes according to plan, the Commission could submit an evaluation on the feasibility of Iceland’s membership before Christmas—EU leaders meet in mid-December.
The next summit won’t be held until March 2009 when Spain has taken over the EU presidency from Sweden.
After that, it is up to the governments of the EU member states to decide whether membership negotiations with Iceland should be launched, Rehn said.
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