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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Press statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, Prime Minister of Iceland
16 July 2013
Good morning Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson to the European Commission.
I would like to congratulate the Prime Minister on his appointment, this time personally. I appreciate that Brussels and the European Union institutions are on the agenda of his first visits abroad after taking office.
This clearly demonstrates the depth of our relations, very important relations, based on common values, mutual understanding and already well-established bilateral ties.
Today, we had an exchange of views on the intentions of the new government of Iceland regarding European Union-Iceland relations. This was constructive and helped us understand and share each other's vision on our future relations.
Let me be clear: The Commission respects the decision of the government regarding the accession process. We look forward to clarity on the validity of Iceland's membership application after the parliamentary assessment on European Union accession, which will take place this autumn.
It is in the interest of the European Union and Iceland that a decision is taken on the basis of proper reflection and in an objective, transparent, serene manner. But the clock is ticking, and it is also in the shared interest of us all that this decision is taken without further delay.
We hope that this debate in Iceland will provide us with clear indications on the way ahead and we are ready to further discuss with the government how to shape this way forward together.
Let me also emphasise that the unanimous decision of the European Union Member States to open accession negotiations remains valid.
So, my message today is clear: provided Iceland wants it, we remain committed to continuing the accession negotiation process, which I am certain, could address Iceland's specificities.
Thank you for visiting the European Commission and let me once again tell you that I very much respect your country. We consider Iceland as one of our closest partners. I want to reassure you and the people of Iceland that we wish to build closer and even more fruitful relations with your country.
I thank you for your attention.