The Icelandic Government submitted yesterday its answers to a questionnaire from the European Commission as part of ongoing preparations for Iceland’s application for membership of the EU. All ministries and a number of agencies contributed to this effort, which resulted in more than 2600 pages of answers, in addition to annexes and attachments, 8870 pages in total. The answers will form the basis for the Commission’s opinion to the European Council regarding Iceland’s readiness for formal candidate status.
The approximately 2500 questions from the Commission were aimed at obtaining a comprehensive overview of Iceland’s legal system, administration, organisation of government structures and a host of legislative and other issues. The answers are descriptive in their nature and do not reflect negotiating objectives.
Questions and answers are divided into a general part – political criteria and economic criteria – and 33 separate parts based on 33 chapters of the EU enlargement; first chapter on free movement of goods, second chapter on freedom of movement for workers, etc.
Significant efforts went into completing the answers seven weeks after the questionnaire was formally presented by Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn on 8 September 2008. Answers were already available in many chapters due to Iceland’s long-standing cooperation with the EU legislative process through the EEA Agreement and international organizations such as the OECD, the WTO and the UN.
Experts from within and outside the administration contributed to the answers. The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Iceland (Althingi) provided important input and were well informed throughout the process, as well as interested organisations and groups such as the Farmer’s Association and the Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners, The Association of Local Authorities in Iceland, labour and employer associations, the Consumers’ Association of Iceland, the Consumer Spokesman and University Experts.
The European Commission has already started to review the answers in close cooperation with Icelandic authorities in preparation for its opinion to the European Council.
The answers can be found at: http://evropa.utanrikisraduneyti.is/evropa/adildarferli/svor/
(Press release from the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs)