13 million ISK will be granted to the Foreign Ministry to prepare for a legal battle over Iceland’s restrictions on imported meat. The legal issues surrounding the case have been going on for at least the past four years.
RÚV reports that the Budget Committee majority voted in favour of granting 13 million ISK to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This money is to go towards preparing a case for the defense of Iceland’s ban on imported fresh meat, should the case be heard by the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) court.
In July 2014, the company Ferskar kjötvörur (“Fresh Meat Products”) filed a lawsuit against the Icelandic government in Reykjavík District Court over the ban. The court decided that they wanted the opinion of the EFTA court before ruling, and that opinion is expected in February.
As reported, European Economic Area (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 the Surveillance Authority of the European Free Trade Agreement (ESA) has ruled that Iceland is violating international law of which it is a signatory.
The imported meat ban also has its critics at home. In 2011, many conservative politicians and business owners voiced their opposition to the law, with many contending that it is unfair to consumers, apart from being in violation of international law.