The European Commission today published a progress report on the status in Iceland‘s accession negotiations with the European Union. The main conclusions are that Iceland continues to fulfil all political and economic conditions for memberhip and the report also deals extensively with the development and outlook of Iceland‘s economy.
The progress report analyses economic and political development in the period since the last report, issued a year ago, and reviews the main issues of the negotiations.
The report confirms that Iceland is a well-functioning democracy with stable institutions and continues to safeguard human rights. Good progress has been made in carrying out the recommendations made in the report of the Special Investigation Commission of the Parliament on the collapse of the three main banks in Iceland. Furthermore, the independence of the judiciary has been strengthened. The report also discusses amendments to the legal framework of the central government and progress made in anti-corruption policy.
The report discusses the successful completion of the economic programme with the IMF and the fact that Iceland's acess to international capital has been restored. It confirms that Iceland‘s economy is recovering even though the recovery is tentative and that unemployment continues to be of concern.
The report states that Iceland has adopted a large part of EU‘s legislation through the EEA-Agreement and Icelandic legislation is therefore in line with the EU acquis to a great extent. In areas either not covered or partially covered by the EEA Agreement Iceland's policy is not fully in line with the acquis, but progress is reported in the judiciary and the already high level of fundamental rights has been strengthened further. Iceland has also reached a high level of alignment in the area of foreign policy. The European Commission believes that the most complex negotiations will be on agriculture, environment, fisheries and food safety.
Substantive accession negotiations between Iceland and the EU began on 27 June 2011 by the opening of four chapters and the preliminary closing of two of them during the same meeting. The negotiations will continue during Intergovernmental Conferences in Brussels on 19 October and 12 December.