Bloomberg News

EU Pushes Iceland for Yes-or-No Decision on Suspended Entry Bid

June 13, 2013

The European Union pressed Iceland’s new government to decide quickly whether to resume its EU entry bid or call it off for good.

“It is in the interest of us all that the decision is not taken in an unlimited period of time,” EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule told reporters in Brussels today after meeting Icelandic Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson.

Iceland sought EU membership in 2009, then suspended the bid in January. The island’s month-old coalition government has kept the EU talks on hold and not yet set a date for a referendum on whether to unfreeze them.

“That is exactly how democracy works,” Sveinsson said, noting that his party vowed in its election campaign to keep Iceland out of the EU. “We are going to assess a number of things. There has been no decision made about dates for a referendum.”

Iceland remains tied to the EU’s single market and is part of the passport-free travel zone that embraces most of the bloc’s countries. Fule said a “privileged partnership” will continue between the EU and Iceland.

To contact the reporter on this story: James G. Neuger in Brussels at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at

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