So, as had been expected, the European Council voted yesterday to open negotiations with Iceland for accession to the European Union.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs sent out a press release in which it points out the obvious: that Iceland is already a member of the internal market of the EEA and a participant in Schengen, so most of the directives etc. have already been implemented. With full accession, however, “Iceland would … have the opportunity to become an actor in deciding on issues which affect its future, rather than a spectator.”
The Fréttablaðið editorial today also focuses on this new phase of Iceland’s application. Excerpt:
People can then discuss the issue based on what is on the table, as opposed to speculation, exaggerations or old wives’ tales, such as that EU accession will involve military duty or that the fishing zone will fill up with foreign trawlers.
There is also a good op-ed piece in the paper by Jón Karl Helgason on the subject, with particular reference to the hullabaloo about the EU discussion Iceland’s application on June 17, [gasp!] Iceland’s National Day:
The fact is that the quest for independence never ends. Small nations like ours must consistently search for ways to secure their positions and independence in a precarious and ever-changing world. They basically have two options: to trust in one powerful supporter (a big brother) or to be a participant in a multi-national collaboration of equals (belong to a strong family). […] We can no longer trust in the United States as our big brother. Hillary Clinton’s cordial National Day wishes notwithstanding.
Meanwhile, Halldór, Iceland’s best political cartoonist, has this gem in today’s Fréttablaðið:
It shows Iceland getting into a hot tub with the EU countries wearing a rubber lifesaver with the inscription “exemptions and provisions” and complaining: “Jesus – on top of everything, it’s wet!”
Seriously, sometimes you just have to laugh.