Brussels, 22 June 2012
Iceland: keeping the fast pace in negotiations
Remarks by Commissioner Štefan Füle at the press conference following the Intergovernmental conference on Iceland's Accession to the EU
''Only one year after the first chapters have been opened, we have now an impressive balance of 18 chapters opened of which 10 have already been provisionally closed. This is a very good achievement. It is actually more than that, it is the fastest any country any other country has moved since 2006 when the renewed consensus on enlargement was adopted.
This result is proof of the firm commitment by the Icelandic government and the EU to the accession process. It is a vote of confidence for the enlargement.
Let me also express my sincere thanks to the Danish Presidency and the Member States for their constructive work
I am very satisfied that Iceland has progressed so far at a good speed on the way to EU membership. It is clear that accession is a demanding process and its pace depends on how well Iceland will be able to demonstrate that it can eventually make itself ready for EU membership in all areas.
Negotiations are entering more challenging territory now; more challenging chapters come to the table. I am confident that with continuous good cooperation we will be able to tackle the challenges ahead and move forward to our common goal.
And this is important for people to understand: the whole negotiation is not only about how to adopt the EU acquis, but is also about increasing the understanding between us of the priorities, key interests and needs on either side. Such understanding is necessary to allow us to take Icelandic's specificities into account while respecting the principles of the European Union.
To achieve this, it is also important to sustain and nurture the public debate on membership in Iceland and enable the people to make an informed choice. At the end of the day it is up to the Icelanders to decide upon accession.''