A so-called accession conference was held today in Brussels as part of the enlargement negotiations with Iceland. Under the leadership of the Danish Minister for European Affairs, Nicolai Wammen, it was decided to open a further 7 negotiating chapters of which 2 could also be provisionally closed. At the end of the Danish Presidency and in just 13 months, more than half of the negotiating chapters have been opened and just under a third provisionally closed. As such, there is good progress in the negotiations. Next accession conference on ministerial level is expected in December 2012 during the Cypriot Presidency.
In connection with today’s meeting, the Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, Össur Skarphéðinsson declares:
”Iceland's EU accession process remains firmly on track and solid progress has been made in the Danish Presidency. Seven chapters were opened under the Danes bringing the total number of opened chapters up to 18 out of the 33 to be negotiated. Likewise, solid groundwork has been done on the most important chapters such as fisheries and agriculture. Also, Denmark deserves high praise for having brokered agreement in Council on the main part of the important reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. In the case of Iceland, the Danish Presidency graduates with flying colours. ”
Minister for European Affairs, Nicolai Wammen declares:
”I am very pleased that during the Danish Presidency it has been possible to ensure such great progress in the enlargement negotiations with Iceland. It has been our objective since we took over the chair in the EU and it gives the next presidency a good basis on which to continue the work.
Iceland is a well-functioning and deeply rooted democracy. As member of the EU, Iceland could strengthen the community of values we have in the EU. Iceland also has a well-developed economy, which offers investors a good and predictable business climate. Furthermore, with its well-educated people, Iceland is a country that has come very far in the fields of research, innovation and green energy. These are questions, which are high on the EU’s agenda and where Iceland can contribute with new ideas.
In 2009, the Icelandic Government took the far-reaching and strategic decision to apply for membership of the EU. This is a decision we take very seriously in the EU. Iceland belongs to the European family."
Marie Bender Foltmann, Tel: +45 41 73 38 93, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org