The European Union could take Iceland to court over protectionist legislation that bans the import of raw meat.
While not in the European Union, Iceland is a part of the European Economic Area (EEA), and as such is subject to most EU laws regarding trade. Among these is the free-flow of goods across borders.
RÚV reports that Iceland and the EU have a difference of opinion over the interpretation of one part of EEA law that could mean Iceland ends up facing legal action from the EU.
Specifically, EEA law grants exceptions to the free-flow of goods for the prevention of the spread of veterinary diseases. Iceland has chosen to interpret this to mean the country can issue a blanket ban on the import of any raw meat.
The EU disagrees with this interpretation and, if the two sides cannot reach an agreement, this could result in Iceland being take to the court of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
Ministry of Industries and Innovation office manager Halldór Runólfsson told reporters that this process begins with a “letter of formal notice”, wherein Icelandic authorities are asked to explain better the logic behind a blanket ban on importing raw meat. If this response is considered unsatisfactory by EFTA authorities, Iceland is then sent a “letter of reasoned opinion”. If EFTA authorities are still unhappy with Iceland’s response, the country could then be charged with breaching the EEA and be taken to EFTA court over the matter.
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