Iceland's Foreign Minister, Ossur Skarphedinsson, met with his Spanish counterpart, Miguel Angel Moratinos, yesterday evening at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Ministers discussed Iceland's application for membership of the European Union during the short visit. Moratinos expressed his hope that formal accession negotiations could be launched during Spain's Presidency of the EU, which Spain takes over from Sweden on January 1, 2010.
"I guarantee you that the Spanish presidency will absolutely be in favour of your speeded-up negotiation process," he said.
Moratinos said Iceland has much to contribute in the European Union, which would be strengthened by Iceland's membership. He warned of challenging negotiations ahead, citing countries had important interests to defend in key areas, but expressed confidence that solutions were within grasp. Negotiations, he added, should focus on strengthening rights, not diminishing them.