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Estonia Lauds Start of Practical Negotiations for Iceland’s European Union Accession


No 228-E

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that the opening of practical negotiations for Iceland’s accession to the European Union is very positive. “Estonia is waiting to welcome Iceland into the European Union, and we’re prepared to support Iceland throughout the whole accession process by sharing our accession experiences,” he said. Paet added that Iceland’s accession process is evidence of the vitality of the EU’s enlargement policy. “It’s also positive that the European Union is enlarging in Northern Europe,” he added.

Foreign Minister Paet said that for the acceding country accession negotiations mean adopting the European Union acquis, but at the same time the unique characteristics of the candidate country must be taken into account. “In many areas, for example science, education, and culture, Iceland does not require separate negotiations,” said Paet. “Iceland would like to begin negotiations in many other areas within the next six months. Iceland is also prepared to begin negotiations as soon as possible on issues that will prove more complicated – fishery and agricultural policy,” noted the foreign minister.

Paet said that the hope is to conclude accession negotiations with Iceland by the middle of 2013.
Iceland presented its application to accede to the European Union in July 2009, and in February 2010 the European Commission gave its approval. Accession negotiations were opened in July 2010, and since then the screening process has taken place, which is the comparing of Iceland and the European Union’s legislation. At the second accession conference, which took place yesterday, practical negotiations were opened. The next accession conventions are scheduled for October and December 2011.

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