Iceland’s Foreign Minister: EU Talks off the Table

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Iceland’s Foreign Minister: EU Talks off the Table

gunnar_bragi_sveinssonIceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson disputes claims that there is disagreement within the government on Iceland joining the European Union.

Gunnar emphasized that the government is simply not working on the accession process. “The EU is off the table. This government is not working on the process to join. But, taking the decision to quit the process has not been discussed by the government,” Gunnar told Rás 2.

RÚV reported over the weekend that there is disagreement among the coalition parties on the issue of the EU. Leader of the Independence Party, Bjarni Benediktsson, stated that the two parties had not discussed the issue of holding a referendum on whether accession talks should continue.

MP for the Independence Party Ragnheiður Ríkharðsdóttir told visir.is earlier today that she would not support the cancelation of EU talks without the issue first going to a referendum. Ragnheiður would like to see the issue go to a vote next spring.

According to Gunnar, the EU has not given Iceland a deadline for deciding on the issue. “This is just our choice,” he said, adding that the decision to cancel the grants to Iceland is likely a sign that the EU no longer considers Iceland a country in the process of joining.

The EU recently announced that it was cutting grants to Iceland by ISK 3.8 billion (USD 32 million, EUR 24 million).

In related news, the government released a statement condemning what it considers threats against Iceland and the Faroe Islands regarding fisheries.

Related:

09.08.2013  |  EU Grants to Iceland Cut by ISK 3.8 Billion

25.06.2013 |  EU Grants to Iceland on Hold

ZR