EU Membership application discussed in Parliament
The Icelandic Government has a positive and ambitious vision on European issues and wishes to strenghten its relations with the EU without becoming member of the Union, according to Mr Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs, in his oral statement on the EU membership application to the Parliament today. In his statement the Foreign Minister said that the accession process had been put on hold but no negotiations had been broken off.
In the statement Mr Sveinsson said that Iceland would pursue intense and visible lobbying within the European Economic Area (EEA) and in connection with other agreements made with the EU. The Minister did also advocate strengthening the bilateral cooperation between Iceland and the EU in areas outside the scope of the EEA and highlighted policy areas such as fisheries, energy and Arctic matters.
Mr Sveinsson explained to Parliament what steps had been taken with regard to the membership application in the months following elections in April. The Commissioner for Enlargement had been informed of the Government‘s decision to put negotations on hold and negotation structures had been dissolved. In addition, the EU had decided that no further pre-accession funds would be made available. „No damage has been done, the membership application has not been withdrawn – no negotiations have been broken off,“ the Minster said in his statement.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has approached the Institute of Economic Studies at the University of Iceland to make an assessment of the status of the negotations and developments in the EU. The report is expected to be ready before the end of the year and its findings will be submitted to the Parliament.