The foreign ministers of the European Union decided yesterday to begin formal accession talks with Iceland.
The ministers were meeting in Brussels on the enlargement of the Union – a discussion which included Iceland’s membership application.
An Intergovernmental Conference between Iceland and the EU begins today and Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson will be in attendance.
The congress marks the start of the formal accession process but the next step, face-to-face negotiations at a governmental level, will not begin before next year.
Wilfried Martens, leader of the biggest EU political party, the European People’s Party with 73 member parties from 39 countries, said: “On behalf of the EPP, I warmly welcome today’s start of Iceland’s EU accession negations. Iceland’s accession will be important since it will strengthen the EU’s Nordic dimension and the European project at-large.”
“I believe that Iceland, with its longstanding democratic institutions and European traditions, will merit a place in the European Union family. Needless to say, the EPP will be following closely the accession negotiation process and we will also intensify our contacts with like-minded political actors and opinion-makers in Iceland,” Wilfried Martens added.