EU Expedites Accession Process For Iceland - The Reykjavik Grapevine

EU Expedites Accession Process For Iceland

Published April 1, 2015

Photos by
Jón Benediktsson

The European Union has opted to speed up Iceland’s access process, with officials hoping to make the country a full member by month’s end. Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson called the action “unilateral and undemocratic”.

According to a press release from the European Commission for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Commissioner Štefan Füle announced yesterday that the commission decided in a closed meeting to expedite Iceland’s accession process.

“The process was all but complete when talks were put on hold in 2013, so we do not anticipate completing the process will take very long,” Štefan said in the release. “We project Iceland will be a full member by the end of the month; no later than May 15. We look forward to welcoming Iceland into the organisation, and believe this will be of benefit to both Iceland and the rest of Europe.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson was not as enthusiastic about the decision, characterising the move as “outrageous”.

“This [decision] is utterly unilateral and undemocratic,” he added. “Whether or not Iceland joins the EU must be a decision that the Icelandic people themselves decide; not some officials in an office in Brussels.”

Gunnar cited the fact that he had sent a letter to the EU specifically telling them talks were over. Undaunted, EU officials responded shortly thereafter that the letter didn’t count.

“In light of the Foreign Minister’s letter, we decided it would be best for the country that we move forward with alacrity,” Stefan said.

A special accession celebration organised by Evrópastofan, “Fögnum Saman” (“Celebrate Together”), will be held in front of parliament at 19:00 tonight.

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