Össur Skarphéðinsson Minister for Foreign Affairs met yesterday with Guido Westerwelle, Germany‘s Minister for Foreign Affairs, prior to the opening of the 2011 Frankfurt Book Fair, where Iceland is the Guest of Honour.
During their meeting, the ministers discussed Iceland's accession negotiations with the EU; Iceland‘s priorities and the next steps. Minister Skarphedinsson thanked Germany for its sound support during the process and said he hoped that up to a half of the remaining negotiations chapters would be opened this year and the remaining half early next year. It would be important to begin negotiations on agriculture and fisheries as early as possible, Skarphedinsson said. He also stressed the importance of continuing to to work thoroughly on chapters relating to the euro and future monetary policy for Iceland.
Minister Westerwelle welcomed the good progress made in the negotiations so far and reiterated Germany‘s support for Iceland. The German government would continue to be ready to provide advice and assistance. The ministers discussed the euro area situation in light of the debt-crisis in some of its Member States and Westerwelle stressed that the EU was determinded to overcome the current difficulties. He furthermore described his ideas for the continued development of European cooperation. The ministers also discussed scientific research and cooperation in the Arctic and how the two states could strengthen their cooperation on that issue.