Iceland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs says that Polish officials have expressed massive support for speeding up Iceland’s European Union accession talks. Poland took over the rotating EU presidency for six months at the beginning of July.
The minister says that emphasis will be placed on special solutions to the sticky problem of fishing during Iceland’s membership talks; but a permanent total exemption from the Common Fisheries Policy does not appear to be on the table.
Foreign mininster Ossur Skarphedinsson has been calling for negotiations to be sped up, with the opening of more chapters in the negotiation process sooner than originally scheduled. He says that a meeting in Poland this week revealed a desire among leaders of the new EU presiding nation to do just that. The Polish willingness to get onto the thorny subjects of agriculture and fisheries is welcome news to Skarphedinsson, he said.
The minister told Visir.is that he believes that at least 70 percent of Iceland’s fish is locally exclusive to the country and would not be available to other EU fleets — even before negotiations begin. Iceland will, however, need to win significantly more victories in negotiations over fishing for EU membership to pass the eventual public referendum. Both the Icelandic government and the European Union know that.