The fifth meeting of the Accession Conference with Iceland at Ministerial level was held today in Brussels to open negotiations on six chapters in the accession negotiations, adding to three chapters opened earlier this autumn. Chapters were opened on Free Movement of Goods, Taxation, Economic and Monetary Policy, Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments, Environment and External Relations. Moreover, the chapter on Competition Policy has been provisionally closed. The European Union delegation was led by Dr. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus.
In addition to the six chapters, the Presidency reaffirmed the opening of the three chapters from the previous Inter-Governmental Conference held in October, namely the chapters on Financial Services, on Statistics and on the Customs Union. That makes a total of nine chapters opened with Iceland during the Cyprus EU Presidency.
The European Union delegation met with the Icelandic delegation, led by Össur Skarphéðinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade. Štefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, also participated.
With today's Conference, out of a total of 35 negotiation chapters, 27 chapters have now been opened for negotiations and of which 11 chapters have already been provisionally closed. Further Accession Conferences will be planned, as appropriate, in order to move the process forward in the first half of 2013.
“No easy task”
Commissioner Füle underlined that the Accession Conference “brings us a major step forward in the accession negotiations with Iceland”. Referring to the Cyprus Presidency, Commisisoner Füle thanked Cyprus “for its considerable determination in advancing negotiations with Iceland; you have set a record by opening 9 chapters… this was no easy task”.
Minister Skarphéðinsson referring to the work undertaken under the Cyprus Presidency stressed that it is proof that “smaller states can, through committed people, short lines of communications, not to forget very long working hours, equal the bigger ones”.