The EU Foreign Affairs Committee wants admittance talks with Iceland to begin as soon as possible, and does not want Icesave to stand in the way.
According to the Sofia Echo, MEPs believe Icesave is a bilateral issue, and that talks with Iceland should begin at the end of this month. “Icesave is a bilateral file which should not have repercussions on accession,” Cristian Dan Preada of the centre-right EPP bloc is quoted as saying.
Not everyone is entirely convinced, however. German MEP Elmar Brok pointed out that only 33% of Icelanders even want to join the EU. “Can we negotiate with a population who is likely to say no in the end? The Norwegians told us no twice in the past!,” he said.
Stefan Fule, the commissioner designate for enlargement of the European Union – who has already stated his support for bringing Iceland into the EU – responded by saying that while he supports beginning talks as soon as possible, “there will be no fast-track procedure, no shortcut to EU membership. The criteria that need to be fulfilled are the same for all applicant countries based on the ‘own merits’ principle. More substantial efforts will be needed to align with the acquis in areas that are not covered by the EEA Agreement, most notably in agriculture and rural development, fisheries and the environment.”
Should the EU agree to accept Iceland’s application into the EU, the matter would go up for public referendum in this country.