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The accession of Iceland to the European Union.

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Par   •  5 Novembre 2012  •  1 442 Mots (6 Pages)  •  1 286 Vues

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The European Commission has today finalised a series of aid programmes to support reforms in countries wishing to join the EU. The funding, totalling almost 1 billion euro, comes under the 2011 budget of the Instrument for pre-accession Assistance, and will be available to Western Balkans, Turkey, and Iceland. In fact, since July the 17th 2009, Iceland confirmed it desire to join European Union. This decision was a huge surprise for a lot of specialists, especially because the country showed the past former years its hostility with joining the Union. Nevertheless, this request is just, in Michel Sallé’s opinion, a way for Iceland to break with the economic slump it actually knows.

Iceland, or Island in Icelandic, is a Nordic European Island based in the North Atlantic Ocean. Discovered and populated by Vikings, Iceland became a Danish colony and took it independence only in 1904. It’s a Republic, and also the place of the world’s oldest still functioning Parliament. It economy is inspired from mixed economy and its main resources are services, finances, industries and fishing. The links between Iceland and Europe are strong. Since its independence, its play during the two World Wars and the Cold War was really important. Today, Iceland is member of the Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, EFTA and EEA.

Before the crisis, Iceland was one of the most developed countries in the world, according to his 2007 HDI. Michel Sallé, President of the Iceland/France Institute, declared that Iceland’s decision to join the U.E. could only be motived by the economic recession, arguing Iceland just want to benefit from economic policy of the European Union. Mr Sallé said, “They want the euro, but not the Union”. Actually, Iceland asked many times to the European Central Bank the permission to enjoy a special treatment to get the euro without joining the UE. This fact seems available, because most of Icelandic seems opposed to this adhesion (50/50 according to the polls) cause many Icelandic could be afraid to depend again from the old continent. But in October 2009, during the crisis, 80% of Icelandic were suddenly favourable to the adhesion.

What are the true reason leading Iceland to join the U.E.?

In the first part, we’ll see the position of Iceland under European questions and its links with the old continent before its demand. Then, we’ll see where is the country in its procedure to join the U.E.

I. The place of Iceland with its European neighbour:

A. Iceland, a strategic ally in European business.

Like we said before, Iceland is a member of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA), which is between non-E.U. European countries, but still integrated into the E.U.'s European Economic Area (EEA) and the Schengen Area. Through the EEA, Iceland participates, but cannot vote, in certain European agencies, including enterprises, environment, education (especially the Erasmus Programme) and research programs. Iceland also regularly consults the EU in foreign affairs and frequently aligns itself to E.U. foreign policy.

Iceland's participation in Schengen treaty ensures free movement of people between itself and the rest of the EU. Iceland's membership in the Schengen treaty is due to its previous participation in the Nordic Passport Union that has been subsumed into Schengen as Nordic countries acceded to the E.U. Several thousand Icelanders travel to and study or work in the EU.

Economic relations between Iceland and the European Union are primarily governed by two agreements. The first is a bilateral free trade agreement that they signed in 1972 and the second is the agreement on the EEA in 1994. The EEA was established to give Iceland access to the E.U.'s internal market.

78% of Icelandic exports went to the E.U. and 52% of Icelandic imports came from it, making the E.U. Iceland's most important trading partner, followed by Norway. Traditionally, the Icelandic economy focused on fisheries and renewable energy.

B. Icelandic point of view about European Union.

From 1995 to 2007 the government coalition of the conservative Independence Party (Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn) and the liberal Progressive Party(Framsóknarflokkurinn), was opposed to join the E.U., while the opposition, Social Democratic Alliance (Samfylkingin), supported membership negotiations.

Former Prime Minister Halldór Ásgrímsson predicted the country would join the EU by 2015, the decisive factor remaining the future and the size of the Eurozone, especially


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