Monday

3rd Aug 2020

Iceland dissolves EU accession team

  • Reykjavik is not keen on joining the EU anymore (Photo: Wikipedia)

The Icelandic government has dissolved its EU accession team after deciding to give up on talks to join the Union.

"We have dissolved our task force and negotiation teams, and there won't be any other summits," foreign minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson told the Icelandic parliament, the Althing, on Thursday (12 September).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"The government is in agreement on this subject. The process has been suspended. But nothing has been closed down, and we will improve our communication and strengthen our ties with the EU without actually joining," he added.

Sveinsson's centre-right and eurosceptic coalition promised to end the EU talks when it took power in April, with its EU negotiators put on prolonged vacation since May.

Iceland launched its EU bid after suffering a financial meltdown in 2009, but the country's economy later recovered and public opinion turned against the EU.

For its part, the European Commission had nurtured hopes that Iceland's new government might change its mind.

Back in July, commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said the door was still open, but noted that the "clock is ticking."

The main sticking point in EU relations is fisheries.

Reykjavik has insisted on keeping high mackarel quotas amid EU threats to impose trade sanctions.

A meeting on the subject on Sunday in the Icelandic capital failed to reach a compromise.

Iceland has unilaterally issued a quota of 123,000 tonnes of mackerel for this year and demands a 17 percent share of the EU total catch.

During a visit to Brussels in July, its Prime Minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, said the EU should try to replenish its fish stocks instead of pressing Iceland to catch fewer fish.

He offered "assistance" on replenishment and urged EU countries to base their arguments on "science," saying that more fish are migrating northward due to warmer seas.

'EU clock is ticking,' Iceland told

The EU Tuesday said a recalcitrant Iceland could still join the bloc if it wanted but at the same time noted it is likely to sanction it for its "unilateral" fishing policy.

Iceland leader snubs EU membership

Iceland’s bid to join the EU has come to an end, Iceland’s independence party leader Bjarni Benediktsson has said.

Iceland says final EU goodbye

Iceland has definitively dropped its EU membership bid, nearly six years after having made the demand.

Kosovo to restart EU/US-led Serbia talks

Restarting talks on Serbia relations will be the new Kosovo prime minister's top priority, he said, but will the EU or the US lead the process?

News in Brief

  1. France imposes new Covid-19 tests on visitors
  2. Brussels closes all mosques for Eid festival
  3. Amsterdam and Rotterdam tighten face mask measures
  4. UK tightens lockdown measures in north England
  5. EU banking watchdog warning on 26 banks
  6. 60,000 rally in Minsk ahead of Belarus election
  7. 'Better Regulation' is key for EU policy-making, auditors say
  8. Polish tribunal to examine EU gender-violence treaty

Opinion

Wanted: EU-US cooperation on Kosovo

International burden-sharing worked in Kosovo - until the Trump administration announced White House talks with the presidents of Kosovo and Serbia on June 27, leaving the EU special envoy for the Western Balkans in the dark.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. EU mishandling corona-travel, Belgian expert says
  2. France wants rule of law sanctions on recovery budget
  3. The three 'Elephants in Room' in EU-India relations
  4. First use of new EU sanctions against Russia, China hackers
  5. Six 'LGBTI-free' Polish cities left out of EU funding
  6. EU's new Security Union Strategy is a good first step
  7. US 'cavalry' leaving Germany to go back home
  8. Why is building renovation 'Cinderella' of EU Green Deal?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us