Iceland accession to the EU: “A significant step forward”

Iceland who applied for EU membership in 2009 has progressed “at a good speed” in the negotiations for accession to the EU, remarked Commissioner Štefan Füle at the press conference following the Intergovernmental conference on  Iceland’s Accession to the EU on Friday 22 June.With three new chapters opened are Transport Policy, Social Policy and Employment, Financial Control, out of a total of 35 negotiation chapters, 18 chapters have been opened for negotiations of which 10 chapters have been provisionally closed.Last Sunday President Olafur Grimsson, critical to the EU, but a prominent voice for more focus on the Arctic, was reelected to a fifth term in office.

The European Union delegation was headed by Nicolai Wammen, Minister for European Affairs of Denmark, Commissioner Štefan Füle represented the European Commission, and the Icelandic delegation was led by Össur Skarphéðinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade. Negotiations are entering a more challenging stage now, with agriculture and fisheries to be dealt with. “I am confident that with continuous good cooperation we will be able to tackle the challenges ahead and move forward to our common goal,” said Štefan Füle.

Commissioner Füle underscored that “the whole negotiation is not only about how to adopt the EU acquis, but is also about increasing the understanding between us of the priorities, key interests and needs on either side,” reminding that “At the end of the day it is up to the Icelanders to decide upon accession.”

Icelanders, precisely, decided to renew their confidence in President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson to lead the country after presidential elections held on 30 June. According to first numbers, Mr. Grímsson got 52.78% of the overall votes and his main competition Þóra Arnórsdóttir got 33.16%. Olafur Ragnar Grimsson who has been in office for 16 years is set for a record fifth term in office.

“Iceland is now at a crossroads. Behind us are difficult years. Ahead are decisions on the constitution and our relationship with other countries in Europe,” wrote President Grimsson in an article published in daily Morgunbladid on voting day.


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