Iceland's road to the EU
Following Iceland's application for accession to the European Union of July 2009, the European Commission published in February 2010 its Opinion on Iceland's application for membership of the European Union and recommended that negotiations for accession to the European Union should be opened with Iceland.
Member States decided to open accession negotiations with Iceland and the first intergovernmental conference was held in Brussels on 27 July 2010, to mark formally the opening of accession negotiations between the EU and Iceland. The Belgian Presidency delivered the EU Negotiating Framework, which outlines the principles, substance and procedures guiding the negotiations with Iceland, thus paving the way for the upcoming accession talks between Iceland and the EU.
Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner Stefan Füle said: "The opening of accession negotiations today marks a new chapter in the history of our relations with Iceland. Accession should be a win-win situation for both sides. For Iceland, it will mean economic and monetary stability and a voice at the EU decision making table. For the EU, it will mean we become stronger in dealing with the Arctic region and in areas such as renewable energy and climate change."
Before actual chapter by chapter negotiations started between Iceland and the EU Member States, a 'screening' exercise took place. The screening process provides an in-depth analysis of the EU rules and regulations with which every EU country must comply (the so-called acquis). The screening exercise, which started in November 2010 and lasted until 20 June 2011, allowed Iceland to familiarise itself with the parts of the acquis which are not covered by the EEA Agreement. It also allowed the Commission to assess the situation in Iceland and how prepared Iceland is for EU membership across all chapters.
The actual and ongoing chapter by chapter negotiations began on 27 June 2011.