Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/iceland : Summit Backs Entry Talks with Reykjavik

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/iceland : Summit Backs Entry Talks with Reykjavik

Article excerpt

The European Union's leaders unanimously gave the go-ahead, on 17 June, to the opening of membership talks with Iceland. "Iceland meets the political criteria set by the Copenhagen European Council in 1993," they said in a short statement adopted at the end of their summit. The decision does not specify a date for the actual launch of the process, which would require an additional unanimous agreement by the member states.

Having received a political nod from the EU's leaders, the European Commission will now start drafting its negotiating strategy - the so called negotiating framework. The document will inter alia define the negotiating mechanism and conditions as well as specify the date for the start of talks. Under the EU rules of procedure, the member states, which together with the European Commission carry out the talks, have to rubber stamp it by unanimity. According to a Commission source, the whole process is likely to be completed "within couple of months". "It shouldn't take a long time, given the fact that the Commission has already taken stock of Iceland's preparedness for membership in its recommendation issued in February," said the same source. According to another EU source, the negotiations with Reykjavik might begin already in July, when the first ministerial meeting between Iceland and the EU is planned.

DIVIDED ISLAND

The decision on the opening of talks came on the day when Iceland celebrated the 76th anniversary of its independence, which for those opposed to EU membership is an ironic coincidence. …

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