Reykjavik makes progress in accession talks
By Joanna Sopinska | Friday 22 June 2012
Iceland has made substantial progress in its EU accession bid by opening three new negotiating chapters for talks. At the accession conference, on 22 June in Brussels, Reykjavik launched discussions with the European Union on transport policy, social policy and employment, and financial control. This has brought to 18 the number of chapters opened for negotiations since the start of the talks, in July 2010. This “marked a significant step forward” in Iceland’s accession process, the EU said in a statement.
At the same meeting, the EU confirmed the provisional completion of negotiations in two areas: foreign, security and defence policy, and consumer and health protection. With this decision, ten out of 35 chapters have been temporary closed.
Despite efforts, Iceland did not manage to meet its target to open all remaining chapters for negotiations during the Danish Presidency. The most controversial areas, such as agriculture and fisheries, have yet to be dealt with.
Until now, Iceland’s accession talks have been progressing well due to country’s specific relations with the EU. As Reykjavik has been part of the EU’s single market since 1975 and a member of the Schengen area since 2001, its legislation has been aligned with the EU
acquisever since. The process could, however, still take years and Iceland faces possible difficulties over its debts as well as fishing quotas and access for foreign investors to the country’s markets. For decades, Iceland has rejected the possibility of joining the European Union and applied for membership only in 2009, when the global financial crisis crushed its banking system.