The European Commission today published a progress report on the status in Iceland‘s accession negotiations with the European Union. The main conclusions are positve, stating that Iceland´s accession is matter of mutual benefit to the EU and Iceland. The EU's common interests with Iceland are growing, including in the fields of renewable energy and climate change and in view of the strategic importance of the EU's Arctic policy. The EU will be enriched by Iceland's strong democratic credentia.
The EU Commission says in its report that it is confident that the EU will be able to present a package for the negotiations which takes Iceland's specificities and expectations into account, within the agreed framework for the accession negotiations, while fully safeguarding the principles and acquis of the Union.
The progress report states that the negotiations are progressing well with an overall good level of alignment with the EU acquis due to Iceland‘s participation in the EEA agreement and Schengen.
The report deals extensively with the development and outlook of Iceland‘s economy. Following a deep and long recession, economic recovery has taken hold with good growth in 2011-12 and improvements of its macro-economic conditions. Overall, Iceland's track record in implementing its EEA obligations remains largely satisfactory.
The report states that Iceland continues to meet the political criteria. It is a well-functioning democracy with strong institutions and deeply rooted traditions of representative democracy. The country's judicial system is of a high standard, and Iceland ensures the continuous strengthening of its already high level of protection on fundamental rights.
Substantive accession negotiations between Iceland and the EU began on 27 June 2011. Of 33 negotiation chapters, 18 have been opened and 10 closed provisionally. The negotiations will continue during an Intergovernmental Conference in Brussels on 24 October 2012.