Iceland, Republic of

The May 14-15 2002 NATO meeting was held in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Photo: NATO)

Iceland, Republic of

Iceland has a population of approximately 280,000 and a size of 103,661 km2. It is part of the European Economic Area-agreement (EEA) and member of the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA). 

17 June 2010 a European summit in Brussels welcomed membership talks with Iceland. The last polls have shown heavy resistance in the Icelandic population. 

In July 2009, the Icelandic parliament decided with narrow majority to apply for membership in the European Union. The coalition government between social democrats and red-greens were divided on the issue. A new government stopped negotiations on membership. The application was formally withdrawn in March 2015.

A membership is only realistic if it is possible to secure Icelandic control of fishery territories. Iceland is financially heavily dependent on the sale of fish. 

In 2008, the Icelandic crown fell dramatically in the markets after major bank bankruptcies and unemployment and interest rates soared. A new debate on EU membership was started.

A new coalition government decided to explore negotiations on EU membership. If any agreement were come to, a referendum would have to be held but negotiations were stopped after the next general elections.

The EEA agreement has made Iceland a part in the internal market of the European Union. Iceland copy all EU legislation concerning the Internal Market and has full access to the common market for all products. There is a special agreement on fish. 

Iceland has also copied more than 10,000 EU laws - including the EU legislation on trains and waterways - even if Iceland does not possess trains nor waterways.