Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson told reporters that the European Union will not say anything about whaling when they go over the environmental agreement portion of accession talks.
Speaking to RÚV, Össur said that he has been told that the EU will “not in any way makes demands that Iceland change their position on whaling before we go into the agreement, as many have demanded.”
The statement would appear to be the opposite of a statement made by European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle just last week, who said that one of the preconditions for Iceland being a member of the EU would be to uphold European nature conservation law. This would include abiding the absolute ban on whale hunting.
The EU has been showing some flexibility towards Iceland on a number of matters, such as fishing and agriculture, which are the two points of contention that make many Icelanders wary of joining the organisation. Whether or not the EU will be willing to go so far as to let Iceland hunt whales in EU waters remains to be seen.
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