Iceland withdraws from application for EU membership

Iceland withdraws from application for EU membership

cc. The Icelandic Government decided not to resume accession negotiations with the EU and officially withdrew from its application for membership. Therefore, Iceland has no longer the status of a candidate country and requests the EU to respect this fact from now on. “The majority of the insular state’s people had always spoken out against the membership”, the “Handelszeitung” wrote on 12 March. And as it is not different in Switzerland, it would be also an option for the Swiss Government.

                                                             MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
                                                                                                                         Reykjavík, 12 March 2015
Latvian Presidency of the Council
of the European Union
H.E. Edgars Rinkēvičs

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy
& Enlargement Negotiations
Mr. Johannes Hahn

Dear Edgars, Dear Commissioner Hahn, Since taking office in 2013, the Government of lceland has implemented a clear new policy
on the EU accession negotiations.
This policy has been reiterated at the meeting of the Government on 10 March 2015 with the adoption of this letter containing further clarifications.
Core elements of that policy were, as a first step, to put the accession negotiations on complete hold, to dissolve the negotiating structures and to commission an assessment of the accession process as well as of developments in the EU. In addition and in line with putting the accession process on complete hold, the Government decided to refrain from participating in all activities related to its candidate status.
In meetings between the Prime Minister of lceland and the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council in July 2013 this new policy was explained. On those occasions it was made clear by the two leaders of the EU institutions that clarity regarding the application process would be welcomed. Furthermore, extensive contacts took place between lceland and the EU in relation to IPA projects in the latter part of 2013.
Since then the assessment of lceland‘s accession process has been finalized and the issue discussed at length in the lcelandic Parliament. Contracts on IPA projects have been terminated by the Commission.
Recently we held consultations with you on the state of play of the accession process.
With reference to the above, the lcelandic Government wishes to clarify further its intentions. The Government of lceland has no intentions to resume accession talks. Furthermore, any commitments made by the previous Government in the accession talks are superseded by the present policy.
In light of the above it remains the firm position of the Government that lceland should not be regarded as a candidate country for EU membership and considers it appropriate that the EU adjust its working procedures accordingly.
Let me reiterate the importance of continued close relations and cooperation between the EU and lceland based, in particular, on the EEA Agreement. The Government is committed to close relations independently of any accession considerations.
Furthermore, the Government wishes to emphasize the importance it attaches to unity and cooperation at difficult times in European history when basic elements of security and economic prosperity are being tested.

                                                                     Sincerely yours,
                                                                Gunnar B. Sveinsson
                                                           Minister for Foreign Affairs


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