Accession talks between Iceland and the EU begin today, and Iceland is already bringing a number of points of emphasis to the table.
As reported, Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson will be meeting Belgian foreign minister Steven Vanackere, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Štefan Füle, and representatives of the main EU countries in Brussels today.
Fréttablaðið reports that they have a foreign ministry document which outlines the points Iceland intends to emphasize at this meeting.
The statement says in part that the Icelandic government puts their participation in the EU within a historical and cultural context, saying that they consider joining the EU to be a natural part of participating with western democracies. They add that Iceland would become the northernmost, westernmost, and least densely populated EU country.
The statement also emphasizes the need for clarification on issues regarding fishing rights, agriculture, and development. Environmental and energy concerns also need to be addressed. Discussions will be kept open and honest, so that the Icelandic people can see all the pros and cons of being within the European Union, the statement adds, and the final word will be with the Icelandic people themselves.
A press conference given by Össur, Vanackere and Füle can be seen live online, at 10:00 Icelandic time, here and here.
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