Fabian Demicoli

EU starts accession negotiations with Iceland

EU leaders have approved the opening of membership negotiations with Iceland. The Nordic country had presented its application on 16 July 2009 and faced strong opposition from the UK and the Netherlands due to an ongoing dispute over repayment of lost bank savings.

Mr Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood policy, estimated that accession talks could take roughly the same amount of time as those conducted by Austria and Finland, a range of 12-18 months. EU member states would then need up to another 18 months to ratify the agreement.

Compared to other candidate countries Iceland's EU bid is generally seen as unproblematic. However, the Icelandic fisheries policy could negatively affect negotiations, with seafood accounting for almost half of Iceland's exports and 10% of its gross domestic product.

Retailers and Wholesalers will clearly benefit from the accession of Iceland to the EU. The full integration of the Nordic country implies the application of the entire Community acquis and enhances predictability and legal certainty for European traders.

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