Tuesday

17th Jan 2017

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).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"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.

Interview

'Don't push Turkey away', says writer Elif Shafak

Novelist and essayist Elif Shafak said that isolating Turkey would "play into the hands of populism" and that liberals everywhere should defend their values with "emotional intelligence".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  2. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  3. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  4. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  5. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  6. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  7. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  8. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  9. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  10. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  11. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey
  12. Zero Waste EuropePublic Support Needed to Promote Zero Waste in More Municipalities