Ministerial Accession Conference with Iceland: extracts by Erato KOZAKOU-MARCOULLIS, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus; Štefan FÜLE, Member of the EC in charge of Enlargement; and Össur SKARPHEDINSSON , Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland

Type: News   Reference: 91383   Duration: 00:04:06  Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - Council
End production: 18/12/2012   First transmission: 18/12/2012
On 18 December, Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus and President-in-office of the Council, Össur Skarphendisson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, and Štefan Füle, Member of the EC in charge of Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy held a press conference following the Ministerial Accession Conference with Iceland. They announced that 6 more negotiation chapters were opened and the competition chapter was provisionally closed. The chapters opened cover the areas of free movement of goods, taxation, regional policy and external relations. This accession conference brings the number of opened negotiation chapters to 27 out of a total of 35, of which one-third has already been closed. Negotiations have progressed steadily in a wide range of policy areas. They have now moved on to the more challenging chapters, such as economic and monetary policy, regional, and environmental policy, opened today, and financial services, opened at the last accession conference in October. The progress so far is proof of the firm commitment by the Icelandic government and the EU to the accession process. The Commission will continue to facilitate the negotiations and seek solutions that take account of the country's specificities, while respecting the EU principles and the existing legislation of the EU.

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TIME DESCRIPTION DURATION
00:00:00 Title 00:00:05
00:00:05 General view of press conference 00:00:07
00:00:12 Cutaway of the audience 00:00:03
00:00:15 SOUNDBITE (in English) Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus and President-in-office of the Council: I am very pleased today following the conclusions of an other governmental conference to confirm that Iceland negotiations are advancing at a very good pace. This is clearly demonstrated today since we have closed one chapter and open 6 chapters. This is indeed a very substantial and very significant step forward in the accessions negotiations and marks an important day both for Iceland and for the EU. 00:00:43
00:00:58 Cutaway of the audience 00:00:06
00:01:04 SOUNDBITE (in English) Štefan Füle, Member of the EC in charge of Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy: The pace of negotiations largely depends on how well Iceland will be able to demonstrate that it can surely make itself ready for EU Membership in all areas. We have now reached the point where more challenges chapters come on the negotiations table. I trust that with continuous good cooperation and the constructive attitude employed by both sides so far, we will be able to find mutual satisfying solution. 00:00:33
00:01:37 Cutaway of the audience 00:00:04
00:01:41 SOUNDBITE (in English) Össur Skarphendisson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland: For me and for Iceland, this is of course an historic day, we have been able to conclude the opening of 6 more chapters and all in all, we have opened within 18 months, since we started substantive accession talks, 27 chapters out of the 33 to be negotiated. And 11 have been closed provisionally. We have taken one step at a time; it took us one year to become a candidate country. 00:00:35
00:02:16 Cutaway of the audience 00:00:04
00:02:20 SOUNDBITE (in English) Össur Skarphendisson: Now on the special request regarding the environmental chapter, it is more or less to keeping the same that we have today. Iceland is a special case in the sense that we have been isolated from EU from centuries and we survive to dark sometimes cold and difficult centuries by using every possible means to survive. It means that we develop certain traditional techniques to utilize nature. That may not be the liking of everyone on the continent but this is now a part of the tradition of Iceland, even in terms of economy. 00:00:46
00:03:06 SOUNDBITE (in English) Štefan Füle: And the point number three, the mackerel issue, the main reason why there is no reference is that this issue primarily linked to the sustainable management of the mackerel stock in the North Sea Atlantic between the concerned costal state. And such is not a part of the accession negotiations. But it is very clear that progress in this consultation among the costal state will improve the overall climate of the negotiations. 00:00:44
00:03:50 Cutaway of the audience 00:00:04
00:03:54 Speakers leaving 00:00:12
00:04:06 End 00:00:00
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