The spokesperson of the European Commission has issued a statement to the press clarifying that the cessation of Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) funding in no way means that the European Union has ended accession talks with Iceland.
RÚV reports that Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, the spokesperson for the European Union, objected to recent remarks from Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson that the EU’s decision to end IPA funding in Iceland means “that the EU has sent Icelanders the message that they believe [accession] talks with Iceland are over.”
Pia says that the EU has made no such decision, and that they believe it is in Iceland’s best interests to join the EU. She said the EU was more than willing to begin accession talks again whenever Iceland is ready, and that this opinion had been expressed to Icelandic authorities on numerous occasions.
As reported, the EU recently decided to end IPA funding in Iceland, long after accession talks were put on hold. Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson has said he will fight to make sure IPA funding continues for existing IPA projects in Iceland – despite numerous public objections to Iceland receiving the funding, let alone joining the EU.