Iceland welcomes EU’s decision on its membership negotiation

Iceland welcomes EU’s decision on its membership negotiation
# 18 June 2010 00:10 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Iceland Thursday welcomed European Council’s decision to open the negotiation process for Iceland’s accession to the European Union, according to a statement reaching here from the Icelandic Foreign Ministry, APA reports quoting website.

"This is a good day for Iceland and for all of us. I see the EU ’s unanimous support for opening negotiations as a vote of confidence in Iceland as a solid European partner," said Ossur Skarphedinsson, Icelandic Foreign Minister in the statement.

"Our home is Europe and Iceland’s EU membership will certainly serve our mutual interests," he added.

Skarphedinsson said that as an EEA member of the internal market and participant in Schengen, Iceland has already completed a large part of the marathon and he is optimistic that with creativity and hard work on all sides the course will be completed.

"Iceland would then have the opportunity to become an actor in deciding on issues which affect its future, rather than a spectator," Skarphedinsson said.

He said Iceland can contribute to European integration with substantial expertise in sustainable fisheries and geothermal energy.

The European Council earlier on Wednesday agreed to take up negotiations with Iceland on its possible membership of the EU despite the latter’s weaknesses including that in the financial structure.

The decision means the two sides will begin the negotiation while the preparation work on both sides are still underway.