Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Jón Bjarnason denies he told a Romanian EMP that he intended to prevent Iceland from joining the European Union.
While the official stance of the ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Leftist-Greens is that Iceland will join the EU, many Leftist-Greens – Jón among them – remain strongly sceptical of the benefits of joining. Jón has made his misgivings public, especially with regards to how he believes joining the EU would affect fishing and agriculture.
Eyjan now reports that the news agency Agence Europe has quoted EMP Cristian Dan Preda as saying that Jón said he would try to scuttle talks between Iceland and the EU.
Preda was in Iceland last week, along with other EMPs, to discuss accession progress with Icelandic officials. Says Preda: “[Jón] told us quite openly that he would never allow discussions with the EU over fishing and agriculture to move forward, for the sole purpose of stopping discussions.”
For his part, Vísir reports, Jón denies having ever said this, and emphasised that all ministries are working towards joining the EU – while at the same time saying this was being done against the will of parliament.
This is not the first time Jón is accused of throwing a wrench in accession gears. Last December, a Scottish EMP said that Iceland raising its mackerel quota was a “one-sided political trick” designed to make the EU look bad, while more recently it has come to light that the delay of an agricultural report from his ministry has made some EU officials doubt if Iceland is even ready to join.