Possible Delay of EU-Iceland Talks on Agriculture Skip to content

Possible Delay of EU-Iceland Talks on Agriculture

The part of the membership talks between Iceland and the European Union which has to do with agricultural affairs might be delayed by a few months because the chairman of the respective negotiation committee has allegedly not been given the authority to work towards a plan on adjusting Icelandic agricultural affairs to those of the EU.

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At an Icelandic farm. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

The EU Council of Ministers demands that such a plan be submitted before membership talks on agriculture can continue. Furthermore, all 27 member states must approve this plan before negotiations can take place, Fréttabladid reports.

Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Jón Bjarnason said in a statement that it isn’t a given that a plan on a project on which negotiation parties have yet to agree is submitted.

The statement is at odds with a memo introduced by Foreign Minister Össur Skarphédinsson at a cabinet meeting in January where it says that representatives of the agricultural negotiation committee require authorization to make plans and prepare law amendments.

In an interview with Fréttabladid, Skarphédinsson said he assumed that the plan on agriculture would begin immediately, as the chairperson of the respective negotiation committee has clear authority to do so.

“I consider that the minister of agriculture made it very clear to us that when the agriculture report has arrived they will start working on it in the Ministry of Agriculture. If something else were to come to light, they would be working both against resolutions made by the parliament and government and not even opponents of the EU would do that,” Skarphédinsson concluded.

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