Saturday

28th May 2022

Opinion

Has Iceland really adopted two-thirds of EU legislation?

  • Iceland - a hot candidate to become the EU's 28th member state? (Photo: Thordur Thorarinsson/norden.org)

Since the end of last year it has been repeatedly claimed in foreign media that Iceland has adopted at least two-thirds of all the legislation of the European Union through the country's membership of the European Economic Area (EEA).

Among those who have said this is Olli Rehn, the EU's commissioner for enlargement, for example to the AFP news agency at the beginning of February.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

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

... or subscribe as a group

Until a few years ago, certain Icelanders in favour of joining the European Union on a regular basis claimed the same, that Iceland was adopting 70 and even up to 90 percent of EU laws through the EEA agreement. This claim was repeatedly put forward without being founded on any studies at all.

In the spring of 2005 research carried out by the EFTA [European Free Trade Association] secretariat in Brussels at the request of the Icelandic foreign ministry, however, revealed that only 6.5 percent of all EU legislation was subjected to the EEA agreement between 1994 (when it came into force) and 2004.

In March 2007 a report published by a special committee on Europe commissioned by the Icelandic prime minister, showed that some 2,500 pieces of EU legislation had been adopted in Iceland during the first decade of the EEA agreement. The study also found that about 22 percent of Icelandic laws passed by the parliament originated from the EU during the same period of time.

The totality of EU legislation is according to various sources around 25,000 to 30,000 legal acts. Total Icelandic laws and regulations, however, are around 5,000. Of those there are less than 1,000 laws, the rest is regulations. Even if the entire legislation of Iceland came from the EU it would only be around 20 percent of the total acquis communautaire.

So how is it possible to reach the conclusion that Iceland has already adopted "at least two-thirds of European legislation"?

Hjörtur J. Guðmundsson is a board member of Heimssýn, the Icelandic organisation opposing EU membership

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

Letter

Right of Reply: Hungarian government

The government in Budapest responds to EUobserver opinion piece "Are Orban's Covid powers now the 'new normal' in Hungary?"

When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin

Neither Reagan nor Gorbachev achieved their goal at the famous Reykjavik summit of 1986. Despite that fact there are lessons that current leaders — particularly Vladimir Putin — could adopt from these two iconic leaders.

Orbán's overtures to Moscow are distasteful and detrimental

Some Western European politicians are reviving the chimera of a negotiated settlement. None of this makes the current, half-hearted approach towards sanctioning Russia look better — nor does it shed any favourable light on the cravenness of Hungary's current government.

Column

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is back

Ukraine is finally understood — and hopefully Belarus will be soon too — as a self-standing society and state with close links to its EU neighbours, rather being relegated to Russia's backyard.

Brexit hostility to Good Friday Agreement is damaging UK in US

Democratic Unionist MPs could affirm unequivocally they support the Good Friday Agreement, with no return of a border with physical controls on movement of people, goods or agricultural produce within the island of Ireland — but they won't.

Are Orban's Covid powers now the 'new normal' in Hungary?

As the world continues to seek productive ways to provide assistance to the beleaguered citizens of Ukraine, the Hungarian government is now using the humanitarian crisis to further its own authoritarian ambitions.

Column

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is back

Ukraine is finally understood — and hopefully Belarus will be soon too — as a self-standing society and state with close links to its EU neighbours, rather being relegated to Russia's backyard.

Brexit hostility to Good Friday Agreement is damaging UK in US

Democratic Unionist MPs could affirm unequivocally they support the Good Friday Agreement, with no return of a border with physical controls on movement of people, goods or agricultural produce within the island of Ireland — but they won't.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us