Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Iceland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, has received a response to his controversial letter to the EU in March. The reply is from Edgar Rinkevics, his Latvian counterpart, as Latvia currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.
Gunnar Bragi’s letter caused uproar in Iceland and requested that Iceland no longer be considered an applicant state for membership of the European Union and that the Union should adapt its procedures in light of that.
Rinkevics’s reply, which can be read in its entirety here, says the Council of the European Union has carefully considered the letter from Gunnar Bragi and the position of the Government of Iceland. In light of this, the Council will consider making practical changes to its procedures.
“We would like to confirm the importance that the EU attaches to relations with Iceland which continues to be an important partner for the EU through its participation in the European Economic Area agreement, its membership of the Schengen area as well as through co-operation on Arctic matters,” the letter states.
A press release from the Foreign Ministry interprets the response, saying that Gunnar Bragi now assumes that Iceland will be taken off the list of candidate countries, as has been requested.
“It has been clear that the government considers that Iceland is not a candidate country for EU membership and in my letter to the Chairman of the Council of the EU this was reaffirmed and the Union asked to adapt its procedures to reflect that,” says Gunnar in the press release. “There has not been a reason to believe anything else would be the case. In the contents of this response letter we have received clarity on the matter, and that is a cause for celebration.”