European Union officials do not believe Iceland is yet ready to complete accession talks, due in large part to delays from Minister of Agriculture and Fishing Jón Bjarnason.
Jón has publicly stated that he is against Iceland joining the EU, despite it being a part of the ruling coalition’s platform that Iceland does join. A large part of his objections is that joining will negatively affect Iceland’s agricultural and fishing sector; that Icelandic farmers will not be able to compete with cheaper EU imports, causing many farms to go under. The Farmer’s Association of Iceland contends the same.
However, EU officials have said that they want Iceland to negotiate its agricultural policy, so that the two sides can come to a compromise that, while good for the EU, would also protect Icelandic farmers. In order to go forward with these negotiations, the EU needs a report on the state of Iceland’s agricultural sector.
Unfortunately, that report has yet to appear, and so Jan Tombiński – the EU’s permanent representative of Poland – wrote a letter stating that Iceland is simply not ready to begin this part of the accession talks.
Until this agricultural report from the minister is submitted, Iceland’s accession talks with the EU are essentially on hold.