– Iceland cancels EU membership bid (RT, June 25, 2013):
Iceland’s foreign minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson has announced the country has withdrawn its bid to join the European Union, in part unsatisfied with a deal on fishing rights within its territorial waters.
Three weeks after assuming the post, Sveinsson had indicated that Iceland’s newly elected coalition government was not keen on incorporation into the EU, a process that began in July of 2009 with the country’s official application and formal negotiations the following year.
Iceland’s suspension of the bid began in earnest when its coalition government, which saw the defeat of left-wing parties in favor of the centrist Progressive Party and the Independence Party, indicated that it would call a public referendum on the matter.
Stefan Fule, the Czech commissioner overseeing EU membership bids, has stated that he expects Iceland’s government to notify him whether it plans to reopen membership talks in the future.
Regardless of whether it pursues full membership within the bloc, Iceland is currently a member of the European Free Trade Association, the European Economic Area as well as the Schengen Area agreement on visa policy.