Three new negotiating chapters were opened today at a meeting in Brussels of the Accession Conference with Iceland, the third such meeting at deputy level. This marks another important step forward in the accession negotiations with Iceland.
The three chapters opened are:
- Chapter 9 - Financial Services;
- Chapter 18 - Statistics, and
- Chapter 29 - Customs Union.
On the basis of the negotiating positions of Iceland, the Union closely examined Iceland's general state of preparations for the three chapters. On the understanding that Iceland will continue to make progress in the alignment with and implementation of the acquis, the EU underlined the main issues regarding the closing benchmarks to be met by Iceland in these chapters. Moreover, the EU underlined that it would devote particular attention to monitoring all specific issues mentioned in its common positions with a view to ensuring Iceland's administrative capacity.
The European Union delegation was headed by Ambassador Kornelios S. Korneliou, Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the European Union. The European Commission was represented by Director General Mr. Stefano Sannino. The Icelandic delegation was led by Mr. Stefán H. Jóhannesson, Iceland's Chief Negotiator to the EU.
With today's Conference, out of a total of 35 negotiation chapters, 21 chapters have now been opened for negotiations of which 10 chapters have already been provisionally closed. The screening process is also now almost complete.
The Cyprus Presidency has achieved a compromise on the outcome of screening on Chapter 3 - Right of Establishment, and Freedom to Provide Services and Chapter 4 - Free movement of Capital, thereby breaking a deadlock on these important chapters and providing a beneficial overall boost to accession negotiations. Iceland has already been invited to prepare its negotiating position on these important chapters.
Referring to the compromise achieved, Ambassador Korneliou remarked that “this Presidency will continue to do its utmost to conclude the screening phase so we all can fully concentrate our efforts on the actual negotiations, and exert all efforts to close the maximum possible number of chapters”.
Ambassador Jóhannesson, on behalf of Iceland, thanked the Cyprus Presidency "for it's efficient and ambitious chairing of this process”.
A further Accession Conference at Ministerial level is planned in December in order to take the process forward. The Permanent Representative underlined that the December Accession Conference “will move the process significantly forward and demonstrate that our work continues to bear fruit”.
The accession negotiations were launched in July 2010.