Smith Predicts Icelandic EU Membership in 2009

24 December 2008
SNP MEP Alyn Smith, member of the European Parliament's delegation to Switzerland, Norway and Iceland, has predicted that 2009 will see Iceland's application to become a full member of the European Union.

His prediction comes in the wake of a disastrous few months for Iceland's banking sector, a run on the currency in the country and the commencement of negotiations within the EU on amendments to the Common Fisheries Policy, which continues to be the biggest obstacle to Iceland's entry.

Mr Smith is a regular visitor to Reykavik, having been to Iceland several times with the delegation, last time addressing the Icelandic Parliament on how Iceland can better cooperate with the institutions and countries of the European Union.

Mr Smith said:

"There are many, many similarities between Scotland and Iceland and we can only welcome Iceland's entry into the EU. Their position as a full member state will provide our own country with a valuable partner in a number of very important negotiating areas, not least when it comes to fishing policy.

"As Iceland is already a member of the EEA, any accession negotiations should be considerably easier as the country already applies a good deal of the Community acquis. Nevertheless, it is the Common Fisheries Policy which remains the biggest single stumbling block to Icelandic membership.

"I will continue to press for radical reform of the CFP, and remain of the hope that with this issue resolved, we can not only look forward to Iceland's entry but, at a later date, we may see Norway's application too."