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Iceland - Agriculture, fisheries and food safety

Candidate countries conduct negotiations with the European Union (EU) in order to prepare themselves for accession. The accession negotiations cover the adoption and implementation of European legislation (acquis) and, more specifically, the priorities identified jointly by the Commission and the candidate countries in the analytical assessment (or ‘screening’) of the EU’s political and legislative acquis. Each year, the Commission reviews the progress made by candidates and evaluates the efforts required before their accession. This monitoring is the subject of annual reports presented to the Council and the European Parliament.

ACT

Commission Report [COM(2011) 666 final – SEC(2011) 1202 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

The 2011 Commission Report identifies the progress which still needs to be achieved by Iceland in the fields of agriculture and fisheries. The provisions of the European Union (EU) acquis on food safety are applied by the country following the adoption of the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement.

EUROPEAN UNION ACQUIS (according to the Commission’s words)

The agriculture chapter covers a large number of binding rules, many of which are directly applicable. The proper application of these rules and their effective enforcement by an efficient public administration are essential for the functioning of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The CAP includes the setting-up of management and control systems such as a paying agency and the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS), and also the capacity to implement rural development measures. EU accession requires integration into the common market organisations for a range of agricultural products, including arable crops, sugar, animal products and specialised crops. Member States must also be able to apply EU legislation on direct aid for farmers and to manage the common market organisations for various agricultural products.

The fisheries acquis consists of regulations, which do not need to be transposed into national legislation. However, it requires the introduction of measures to prepare the administration and operators for participation in the Common Fisheries Policy (in the areas of market policy, resource and fleet management, inspection and control, structural actions and State aid). In some cases, existing fisheries agreements or conventions with third countries or international organisations need to be adapted.

This chapter covers detailed rules in the area of food safety. The general foodstuffs policy sets hygiene rules for foodstuff production. Furthermore, the acquis provides detailed rules in the veterinary field, which are essential for safeguarding animal health, animal welfare and safety of food of animal origin in the internal market. In the phytosanitary field, EU rules cover issues such as quality of seed, plant protection material, harmful organisms and animal nutrition.

EVALUATION (according to the Commission’s words)

The majority of the agricultural policy is still not aligned with the European provisions and no new legislative measures have been undertaken by Iceland. Appropriate administrative structures must also be established in this field.

Overall Iceland has aligned its legislation with the EU acquis on matters of food safety, veterinary policy and phytosanitary policy. However, Iceland’s legislation on live animals is still not aligned and no new development has been noted. The European legislative package relating to hygiene shall be put in place in November 2011. Additional progress is required concerning legislation on phytopharmaceutical products, novel foods, and also to strengthen administrative capacities and the capacities of laboratories.

The country continues to apply a fisheries policy, which has similar objectives to those of the European fisheries policy. However, the applicable rules continue to differ considerably. The legislation is not aligned with the EU acquis and no new development has been noted. The mechanisms for putting in place and monitoring European support measures must also be established. The existing restrictions to foreign investment in the fisheries sector are not aligned with the European rules.

Last updated: 12.10.2011

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