"There is no active EU application"

Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson.

Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson. Photo: Eggert Jóhannesson

"From my point of view there is no active Icelandic application for membership of the European Union," Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson and leader of the conservative Independence Party ('Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn') says to the daily Morgunblaðið in response to a recent comment from Matthias Brinkmann, Head of the EU Delegation to Iceland, that the application from 2009 may still be valid.

The previous centre-left government delivered an application for EU membership in 2009, but the current government put the accession process on hold after the 2013 general elections. In March this year the government then delivered a letter to the EU saying that the accession talks would not be continued and thus Iceland should not be considered a candidate country any longer. The EU was requested to adjust its working procedures to that.

The EU received "a very clear message"

"That the EU has some doubts about the status of this issue is of great surprise to me. They have received a very clear message, at least from the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister," he says adding that every political party in Iceland is now in an agreement that the matter of EU membership should not be revisted in the future without first getting the consent of the Icelandic people in a popular referendum.

"Those who want to repeat the same farce, those who have been favouring possible EU membership, they have learnt nothing from the last term," Benediktsson says referring to the  2009-2013 term during which the previous government was in power. Despite calls the 2009 EU application was not put to a referendum. Furthermore the centre-left government was divided on the question of membership which seriously delayed the process.

Related article:

Iceland's EU application possibly still valid

AFP

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