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Iceland: Decision to Suspend EU Accession Process

(June 28, 2013) According to <?Iceland's Foreign Minister, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, the country has decided to withdraw its request to join the European Union, at least for the present. He stated that Iceland's new government is opposed to joining the EU. He said that the government has decided to halt negotiations, but to strengthen European ties in other ways. Iceland has previously said that it would not continue its bid to join the EU if deals on fishing rights were not satisfactory. (Iceland Opts Out of Joining EU, ICE NEWS (June 24, 2013).)

This decision is considered by Stefan Füle,European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood, to be a “personal blow.” He expressed the hope that Iceland’s government would soon communicate when it plans to restart discussions on membership. (Id.) Füle and Sveinsson met in Brussels on June 13 to discuss the matter. (Iceland-European Union Accession Talks on Hold, ICELAND REVIEW ONLINE (June 14, 2013).)

There may be a legal block to Iceland’s withdrawal of the bid, as under a previous government a resolution on access was passed by the Alþingi, Iceland’s legislature. To establish a new policy that does not include accession to the EU, a new resolution would have to be adopted. (Id.)