EU/Iceland — Opening of accession negotiations

First meet­ing of the Acces­sion Con­fer­ence at Min­is­te­r­i­al lev­el with Ice­land: Open­ing of acces­sion nego­ti­a­tions — Brus­sels, 27 July 2010
On the basis of the posi­tions of the Par­ties, the first meet­ing of the Acces­sion Con­fer­ence with Ice­land at Min­is­te­r­i­al lev­el decid­ed today the open­ing of the Inter­gov­ern­men­tal Con­fer­ence (IGC) on the Acces­sion of Ice­land to the Euro­pean Union, fol­low­ing the deci­sion of the Euro­pean Coun­cil of 17 June that acces­sion nego­ti­a­tions should be opened. The Euro­pean Union del­e­ga­tion was head­ed by Steven Vanackere, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter for For­eign Affairs and Insti­tu­tion­al Reforms. The Ice­landic del­e­ga­tion was led by Össur Skarphéðins­son, Min­is­ter for For­eign Affairs.

Dur­ing the IGC, the EU del­e­ga­tion recalled that Ice­land has been coop­er­at­ing exten­sive­ly with the EU across a broad range of areas over the last forty years, as a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Eco­nom­ic Area or apply­ing the Schen­gen acquis, which means that Ice­land has already adopt­ed a sig­nif­i­cant part of EU law. In this regard, the EU under­lined that today’s IGC marks anoth­er mile­stone in the evo­lu­tion of the com­mon rela­tion­ship and that the EU looks for­ward to fur­ther inten­si­fy­ing the already well-estab­lished ties.

The EU del­e­ga­tion also recalled that the nego­ti­a­tions are based on Arti­cle 49 of the Treaty on Euro­pean Union and, accord­ing­ly, take account of all rel­e­vant Coun­cil con­clu­sions, in par­tic­u­lar the con­clu­sions of the June 1993 Euro­pean Coun­cil in Copen­hagen and the renewed con­sen­sus on enlarge­ment agreed by the Decem­ber 2006 Euro­pean Coun­cil. Coher­ent imple­men­ta­tion of the renewed con­sen­sus on enlarge­ment, which is based on con­sol­i­da­tion of com­mit­ments, fair and rig­or­ous con­di­tion­al­i­ty, bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion and the EU’s capac­i­ty to inte­grate new mem­bers, con­tin­ues to form the basis for EU action at all stages of the enlarge­ment process, with each coun­try being assessed on its own merits. 

In addi­tion, the EU pre­sent­ed the Nego­ti­at­ing Frame­work to Ice­land, which has been agreed by the Gen­er­al Affairs Coun­cil on 26 July. The Nego­ti­at­ing Frame­work takes account of the expe­ri­ence of the fifth enlarge­ment and the evolv­ing acquis, and duly reflects Iceland’s own mer­its and spe­cif­ic char­ac­ter­is­tics. It sets out the prin­ci­ples gov­ern­ing the nego­ti­a­tions and describes the sub­stance of the nego­ti­a­tions as well as the nego­ti­at­ing procedures.

The acquis includes, inter alia, the objec­tives and prin­ci­ples on which the Union is found­ed, as set out in the Treaty on Euro­pean Union. The Union expects that a future Mem­ber State adheres to the val­ues on which the Union is found­ed. Fur­ther­more, EU acces­sion implies the time­ly and effec­tive imple­men­ta­tion of the entire body of EU law or acquis, as it stands at the time of acces­sion. The devel­op­ment of suf­fi­cient admin­is­tra­tive and judi­cial capac­i­ty is key in ful­fill­ing all oblig­a­tions stem­ming from mem­ber­ship. Fur­ther­more, the EU under­lined that on the path towards acces­sion, Ice­land would need to con­tin­ue its efforts to align its leg­is­la­tion with the acquis and to ensure its full imple­men­ta­tion and enforce­ment. Seri­ous efforts would be required in par­tic­u­lar in the areas of fish­eries, agri­cul­ture and rur­al devel­op­ment, envi­ron­ment, free move­ment of cap­i­tal and finan­cial ser­vices, in order to meet the acces­sion cri­te­ria. To this effect, the EU stat­ed that it would close­ly mon­i­tor Iceland’s progress in all areas. The reg­u­lar review pro­ce­dure aimed at assess­ing can­di­date coun­tries’ progress towards mem­ber­ship would from now on apply to Ice­land as well.

Par­al­lel to the acces­sion nego­ti­a­tions, the Union will con­tin­ue polit­i­cal and civ­il soci­ety dia­logue with Ice­land, with the aim of bring­ing peo­ple togeth­er and ensur­ing the sup­port of cit­i­zens for the acces­sion process.

With deter­mi­na­tion and com­mit­ment, the EU is con­fi­dent in Iceland’s capac­i­ty to bring this process to a suc­cess­ful conclusion.


Con­tacts between the Ice­land and the EU side will be now pur­sued in order to define the date and the agen­da for the first meet­ing of the Con­fer­ence at Deputy level. 

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union 

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