The European Commission’s office of enlargement has decided to cancel all projects with IPA funding in Iceland.
IPA, or Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, is an EU funding mechanism to help candidate countries and potential candidate countries to finance projects that aim at fulfilling and coordinating regulations required by EU member states.
Since Iceland has put its EU negotiation process on hold, the European Commission has decided that there will be no more funding of projects in Iceland, allowing two months’ notice of projects currently underway.
In its announcement, the Commission reasons that the assistance to Iceland was meant as support to the assignments necessary as preparation for joining the EU.
This decision comes as a total surprise to the Icelandic government – reads a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – especially since the European Commission had previously and often implied that all IPA projects that had already commenced would be finished regardless of Iceland’s potentiality of joining the EU.
It states that the action is one-sided and comes without any advance notice.
The Ministry has already expressed the discontent of the Icelandic government to the European Commission and the Minister, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, reckons that by this decision, the EU has betrayed many co-operating parties relying on the IPA.
Furthermore, seeing as the Icelandic government puts emphasis on collaborating on good terms with the EU, the Commission’s decision is not designed to strengthen the relationship between parties.
“I believe this is not beneficial for the EU in Iceland, I think that Icelanders will see through this decision and what sort of conduct this is on EU’s behalf,” Gunnar Bragi told RÚV, without elaborating on that any further.