Monday, 20 December 2010

EU Council on enlargement: Iceland

My previous blog post looked at the conclusions of the EU Commission regarding the accession negotiations of Iceland: EU enlargement: Iceland (20 December 2010).

The member states of the European Union hold the keys to membership, so there is cause to present how the Council responded. The General Affairs Council referred to the communication from the Commission of 9 November 2010 on the Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2010-2011 [COM(2010) 660], as well as the progress report “Iceland”, in:

Conclusions on enlargement and stabilisation and association process as adopted by the Council (General Affairs) on 14 December 2010 (document 17917/10)

The specific remarks with regard to Iceland are found on page 8:


The Council recalls that, following the Commission’s recommendations in its Opinion of February 2010, accession negotiations with Iceland were opened on 27 July 2010.

Iceland is a long-standing functioning democracy with strong institutions and close ties with the EU. The overall level of preparedness to meet EU acquis requirements remains good, in particular due to Iceland’s membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) and the Schengen agreement. Iceland can be considered a functioning market economy, and could regain the capacity to deal with competitive pressure and market forces within the single market over the medium term.

Negotiations will be aimed at Iceland integrally adopting the EU acquis and ensuring its full implementation and enforcement. In line with the Negotiating Framework, the fulfilment of Iceland’s obligations under the EEA Agreement, taking full account, inter alia, of the European Council conclusions of 17 June 2010, as well as Iceland’s progress in addressing other areas of weakness identified in the Commission’s Opinion, will guide the advancement of negotiations.

In this context, the Council looks forward to the results of the screening process.

Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs

The Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs offers detailed pages in English on Iceland's application for membership of the EU, and the pages Latest news show that the screening process on different areas of legislation advance rapidly, with meetings on financial services, free movement of goods, competition policy, information society and media, company law and public procurement in little more than a month.

But the Council conclusions had not yet been included among the Key documents, and the government has had little to say of late.


Official conclusions usually need to be supplemented by media reports and opinions to give the lay of the land. Here are a few samples.

IceNews, Michael Huguenin: Icelanders Frosty Towards EU Membership (14 November 2010)

IceNews: Icesave contracts leaked online (14 December 2010)

Iceland Review Online: Iceland walks out of mackerel meeting (15 December 2010)

Iceland Review Online: Iceland: EU and Norway Responsible for Overfishing (16 December 2010)

The Economist: Coming in from the cold (16 December 2010)

Ralf Grahn

P.S. This is for people with an interest in EU law and politics. On Polscieu, his blog on the Ideas on Europe platform, Ronny Patz wrote an interesting entry about the legal web portal of the European Union: A new EUR-Lex: Finding documents 2.0? What if people actually found what they are looking for...