Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir is optimistic that Iceland can become a member of the European Union after two to three years as she announced in a press conference yesterday after discussing the matter with her Nordic counterparts.
Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.
The Nordic prime ministers are currently meeting in Egilsstadir, east Iceland, and yesterday Sigurdardóttir presented Iceland’s progress in the matter, Fréttabladid reports.
Sigurdardóttir explained that her government assumes Iceland’s Althingi parliament will pass its EU membership resolution early next month and that the preparation process can be presented at a meeting with the EU foreign ministers at the end of July. A formal membership application will then be submitted to an EU summit in the end of December this year.
The PM said she was optimistic about Althingi passing the resolution and expects the decision to be cross-political. The final decision on whether or not to join the EU would then be determined by the conclusion of the membership discussions.
“I’m certain that we won’t have to give up control of the fisheries resources but it is important to know what is on offer so that we can choose and reject,” Sigurdardóttir explained. “If there is some doubt regarding the fishing industry and I would reconsider whether we should go all the way.”
The prime ministers of the other Nordic countries declared themselves prepared to provide counseling and assistance during Iceland’s preparations for membership negotiations with the EU, which is especially important in the case of Sweden, which will have the EU presidency for six months as of the beginning of July.
Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has announced that his country is willing to prioritize Iceland’s EU membership application.
Prime Minister of Denmark Lars Loekke Rasmussen commented that it was pleasing that Iceland’s membership process would begin during Sweden’s EU presidency and be completed while Denmark served that role in 2012.
“It is of extreme importance to have the Nordic countries behind us. It is invaluable to be able to seek their advice,” Sigurdardóttir commented.
Of the Nordic countries, Denmark, Sweden and Finland are members of the EU while Iceland and Norway have remained outside the union.
Click here to read more about the meeting between the Nordic prime ministers in Egilsstadir.