Iceland-EU Accession Talks to Begin Formally Skip to content

Iceland-EU Accession Talks to Begin Formally

Iceland will formally begin its accession talks with the European Union at an EU summit which begins tomorrow at noon Icelandic time. Today the foreign ministers of the EU states will in all probability agree to begin membership negotiations with Iceland.

Photo of Thingvellir by Páll Stefánsson.

“The summit will be short and formal. What happens is that I submit a written statement on behalf of Iceland where the main issues are included. I will follow it up with a short speech where I explain Iceland’s main viewpoints,” Icelandic Foreign Minister Össur Skarphédinsson told Fréttabladid.

“The EU Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Füle will also give a speech as will the Belgian foreign minister, which is the EU’s leading state at the moment,” Skarphédinsson added.

Skarphédinsson said he will mention Iceland’s special position in regard to sustainable fishing and renewable energy in his speech, along with the country’s political importance in the Arctic region.

“The main point in our statement is the fishing industry. I will also mention the position of agriculture in Iceland and how important it is to have food security. I will also discuss regional development issues, the economy and the currency cooperation in addition to highlighting how much Iceland has in common with Europe,” the minister continued.

The actual accession talks won’t begin until mid-next year and Skarphédinsson said that until then people are practicing the steps before the big dance. When the talks begin for real, the first issues covered will be the most difficult: fisheries, agriculture, economy and environmental issues.

According to an EU memo published by the Bloomberg news agency, the EU’s negotiating parties will emphasize that the Icesave dispute be resolved and that Iceland change its fisheries system.

Click here to read more about Icesave and here to read more about Iceland and the EU.

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