A decision on when membership talks between Iceland and the European Union will begin will be taken no sooner than this March.
According to Reuters, a statement from EU foreign ministers reads in part, “The Council will revert to the matter in March 2010 with a view to setting a date for the opening of accession negotiations. The Council stresses that the reform agenda must be continued.” These access negotiations will also include talks with Macedonia.
Support for EU membership has been gradually waning in Iceland. A recent poll conducted by Bífröst University showed that only 29% of Icelanders favor joining, while 54% are opposed, and 17% are uncertain. Some EU officials have apparently expressed concern that Iceland may withdraw its application if a referendum overturns the decision, citing Norway as an example of a country with a pro-EU government and an anti-EU populace.
“Remember Norway under the Santer commission,” acting commission enlargement spokesman Amadeu Altafaj told EUobserver, “we got as far as a designated commissioner from Norway, they were going to have the fisheries portfolio, but it never happened. It’s something that could happen here: It’s called democracy.”
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