The foreign affairs committee said accession talks with Iceland should be completed as soon as both sides are ready, in a vote on Tuesday on Iceland's progress towards joining the EU. It welcomed the opening of 21 chapters in the negotiations but would have preferred all to be opened.
In a resolution drafted by Cristian Dan Preda (EPP, RO) and passed by 56 votes to 2, with no abstentions, MEPs acknowledge the fluctuations in public opinion in Iceland regarding the continuation of accession talks and the political divisions over EU membership. They also note that the Icelandic government has decided to slow down the accession talks in the run-up to parliamentary elections in April.
MEPs believe that EU accession would enhance Iceland's role in Northern Europe and in the Arctic and at the same time boost the European position in efforts to find sustainable policy solutions for the Arctic region.
The committee takes note of the EFTA Court ruling of 28 January 2013 that cleared Iceland of all charges over a possible breach of the EEA Agreement in the Icesave dispute with the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. It hails the three partial payments to priority creditors of the failed Landsbanki and the stated commitment that payments from the estate will continue.
Mackerel dispute - stop unsustainable fishing
The ongoing dispute over mackerel must be solved urgently, MEPs stress. They call for a multilateral and consensual resolution of the mackerel dispute, pointing out that the total mackerel catch has been exceeding internationally agreed quotas for the past two years.
In the chair: Elmar Brok (EPP, DE)