EU- Iceland: Moving the accession process forward
Brussels, 18 December – At the 8th intergovernmental conference on accession of Iceland held in Brussels today, six 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. In the statement to the press Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle underlined that the negotiations with Iceland are moving steadily forward and added: "It was a week ago, on 11 December, that the General Affairs Council in its conclusions on the enlargement strategy stated that 'Iceland's accession is a matter of mutual benefit' and underlined the commitment of all the Member States to move the negotiating process forward. The Council also concluded that the areas of mutual interest between the EU and Iceland are growing, including in the fields of renewable energy and climate change, and in view of the strategic importance of the EU's Arctic policy.
Now, one week later, I am pleased to announce that today we have opened 6 more negotiation chapters with Iceland covering a number of important areas such as economic and monetary policy, environmental policy, taxation, and regional policy. And we have also provisionally closed the competition chapter.
This is a substantial achievement as we have now opened 27 chapters, of which 11 have been provisionally closed.
In other words: out of altogether 35 chapters, by now the vast majority has been opened and one third already closed.
This result is proof of the firm commitment by the Icelandic government and the EU to the accession process.
Let me also express my sincere thanks to the Cyprus Presidency and the Member States for their constructive work in further advancing Iceland's accession to the European Union.
I am satisfied that Iceland has progressed so far on the way to EU membership. It is clear that accession is a demanding process – but it is also highly rewarding and in our mutual interest. And let me stress that in this process we take into account Iceland’s specificities while safeguarding the principles and acquis of the EU.
The pace of the negotiations largely depends on how well Iceland will be able to demonstrate that it can eventually make itself ready for EU membership in all areas.
We have now reached the point in the negotiations where more challenging chapters come on the negotiation table. I trust that with continuous good cooperation and the constructive attitude employed by both sides so far we will be able to find mutually satisfying solutions and move forward to our common goal."