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Iceland to freeze its accession negotiations with the EU

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People in Iceland have spoken and EU membership is no longer sought by the newly elect government formed by the Progressive and Independence party that won the national parliamentary elections last spring.

Iceland is already very close to the EU as a prosperous Nordic welfare state and a member of the European Economic Area. It has already largely implemented the EUs rules. In addition, the country clearly fulfils the Copenhagen Criteria for EU membership.

It is pertinent that such an important decision as ceasing the membership talks will be brought directly to the Icelanders. The planned referendum on EU membership negotiations will be an existential question to Iceland.

Only EU membership can give Icelanders the ability to influence EU policy-making. The EU, in turn, would gain from Iceland a strong member who adheres to democratic traditions and possesses an active civil society. Iceland would serve as a strategic bridge in the Arctic area, too. At the same time it would have a lot of know-how to offer in renewable energy.

Iceland's EU membership is not something that can be taken for granted. For example, whaling and fisheries policies are both essential conditions to both the EU and the Icelanders. Iceland's decision must be respected, whatever it will be.

It is still worth to remember that outside the EU a country is always a kind of "EU colony". All rules must be complied with but there will be no say in forming them.

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