Dáil Éireann - Volume 688 - 09 July, 2009
Written Answers. - EU Enlargement.
Deputy Leo Varadkar Deputy Leo Varadkar
Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has had contacts with the Government of Iceland with regard to its possible application for EU membership; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29591/09]
Deputy Micheál Martin Deputy Micheál Martin
Deputy Micheál Martin: The Minister of State at my Department with responsibility for European Affairs, Mr. Dick Roche T.D., met the Foreign Minister of Iceland, Mr. Ossur Skarphédinsson, on 18 May, to discuss the issue of Iceland’s prospective application for EU membership. The Icelandic Ambassador accredited to Ireland has briefed officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs on the matter and the issue has been discussed  by our own Ambassador to Iceland during his visits to Reykjavik. There have also been extensive contacts between our own Permanent Representation in Brussels and the Icelandic Permanent Representation to the EU.
Iceland is one of the European Union’s closest partners. It participates fully in the EU’s internal market through its membership of the European Economic Area and its citizens enjoy freedom of movement throughout the EU. Following recent elections in Iceland, the newly elected government has begun the national debate on EU membership. A bill to launch EU accession talks is currently under consideration by the Icelandic parliament and it is expected that, if Parliament agrees, a formal application for membership of the EU will be submitted as early as this month (July).
Such an application would then be considered in accordance with established procedures by the Union. Eventual Icelandic membership, of course, could only happen on foot of successful negotiations with Iceland, which would need to deal with a full range of issues. In principle, we would regard Iceland’s accession to the EU as a positive development.
Dáil Éireann 688 Written Answers. EU Enlargement.