Italy's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Franco Frattini, declared full support to Iceland's application to the European Union during a meeting he had this morning with Ossur Skarphedinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Frattini encouraged Icelanders to consult with Italians if complications would arise during negotiations, and said he understood the importance of fisheries for Iceland's economy.
The ministers discussed Iceland's accession negotiations with the EU, and Frattini solemnly declared Italy's wish that the talks would run smoothly. He emphasized in particular how far Icelanders have already come in their cooperation with European states through the EEA agreement.
Frattini discussed matters of the euro-zone and the actions which have been taken, i.a. in Italy, where the government this morning decided to take measures in order to decrease the deficit during the next two years. He said he was certain that the euro would be stronger after the measures which are now being implemented in the euro-zone.
The ministers discussed matters of Libya in the aftermath of the rebellion and agreed on the importance of the international community's active involvement in ensuring the due course of democracy in the country and in supporting economical restoration.
Matters of the nordic regions were discussed in particular and Frattini commended Icelanders for their initiative in the field. He especially thanked for Iceland's full support to Italy's application as a Permanent Observer State to the Arctic Council. On numerous occasions minister Frattini has declared great interest in the Arctic regions in light of Italy's scientific research in the polar regions.
Italy has invited Iceland to cooperate in researching volcanoes and volcanic ashes after the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull. Italy and Iceland are the only countries in Europe where active volcanoes regularly make their voices heard. The ministers discussed suggestions on how to deepen this relationship, i.a. with possible participation or support from the EU.