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Iceland – Regional policy
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.
Commission Report [COM(2011) 666 final – SEC(2011) 1202 final – Not published in the Official Journal].
The 2011 Report highlights that Iceland’s participation in the European Economic Area (EEA) has enabled it to achieve a high level of alignment with the European Union (EU) acquis. However, the country must strengthen its capacity to manage and monitor the cohesion policy.
EUROPEAN UNION ACQUIS (according to the Commission’s words)
In the field of regional policy, the acquis essentially comprises framework regulations and implementing regulations which do not require transposition into national law. They define the rules applicable to the development, approval and implementation of the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund, which each reflect the territorial organisation of the country. These programmes are negotiated and agreed with the Commission, but their implementation is the responsibility of the Member States. When choosing and implementing projects, Member States must comply with Community legislation in general, for example in the areas of public procurement, competition and the environment. They must have a suitable institutional framework and administrative capacities to ensure that the programming, implementation, monitoring and assessment of projects are carried out in a rational and cost-effective manner with regards to management and financial control.
EVALUATION (according to the Commission’s words)
Iceland has achieved limited progress in the field of regional policy and the coordination of European structural instruments. An overall action plan is being prepared in order to build the administrative capacity of the country. The country must also identify the institutions responsible for implementing the cohesion policy and for developing appropriate management mechanisms for financial control, monitoring actions and for evaluating programmes.
- Website of the Directorate General for Enlargement, Accession negotiations with Iceland