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Iceland – Justice and security

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

In its 2011 Report the Commission notes Iceland’s progress on justice and security, even though the country already applies high standards, as well as a significant part of the European Union (EU) acquis relating to these areas.

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

EU policies in the area of justice and home affairs aim at maintaining and developing the Union as an area of freedom, security and justice. On issues such as border control, visas, migration, asylum, police cooperation, combating organised crime and cooperation with regard to drug trafficking, customs cooperation and judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters, Member States need to be equipped to ensure that they are able to implement adequate standards and an increasing number of common rules. In order to do this, it is important first and foremost that the bodies responsible for applying the law and other competent bodies have robust and integrated administrative capacities which comply with the set standards. The setting up of a professional, reliable and efficient police force is of paramount importance. The Schengen acquis, which entails the lifting of internal border controls in the EU, is the most detailed element of the EU’s policies on justice, freedom and security. However, substantial parts of the Schengen acquis are implemented by the new Member States, following a separate decision taken by the Council after their accession.

EU policies relating to the judicial system and fundamental rights aim at pursuing and aiding the development of the Union as an area for freedom, security and justice. The establishment of an independent and efficient judicial system is of paramount importance. Impartiality, integrity and a high level of competency regarding the rulings made by courts are essential in maintaining the rule of law. This requires a firm commitment to eliminate all external influences on the judicial system and to dedicate the appropriate financial resources and training facilities to it. It is necessary to offer the necessary legal guarantees to ensure fair judicial procedures. Member States must also tackle corruption effectively insofar as it represents a risk to the stability of democratic institutions and the rule of law. It is necessary to establish a solid judicial framework and reliable institutions to which a coherent policy for preventing and dissuading corruption may be applied. Member States must ensure that the fundamental rights and the rights of EU citizens, as guaranteed by the acquis and the Charter for Fundamental Rights, are respected.

EVALUATION (according to the Commission’s words)

The country has continued to reinforce the independence of the judiciary and the anti-corruption policy framework. Further monitoring of the implementation of these measures is required. The country also continued to reinforce the protection of fundamental rights. The monitoring of these measures must also be reinforced.

Alignment of legislation relating to citizens’ rights and data protection has not been achieved.

Iceland continues to apply the Schengen Agreement and the alignment of its legislation in the fields of justice, freedom and security has progressed satisfactorily. Additional effort is expected in order to ratify and implement international instruments relating to child protection, and combating organised crime and counterfeiting.

Last updated: 13.10.2011

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