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05-10-2010

Irish MEP leads EP delegation for the first EU-Iceland Joint Parliamentary Committee

Fianna Fáil MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher led the European Parliament's delegation for the first EU-Iceland Joint Parliamentary Committee which took place in Reykjavik in Iceland on 4 and 5 October.  In February of this year, the European Commission issued a favourable opinion on Iceland's application for EU membership and in June, the EU's Heads of State and Government gave the green light to begin accession negotiations.  The Joint Parliamentary Committee, whyich includes nine members from the EP and nine from Iceland's Althingi, discussed issues such as the Common Fisheries Policy, the economic situation in Iceland, Iceland's energy policies and  the Arctic region.

Mr Gallagher said that his delegation had 'held an extremely informative exchange of views with members of the Icelandic government and parliament on Iceland's application for EU membership.'  He said that 'Iceland is uniquely placed to quickly proceed with negotiations as she has already adopted a significant part of the Community acquis due to its membership of the EEA.'  

Mr Gallagher raised 'the substantial increase in the Icelandic mackerel catch' during the delegation's meeting Iceland's Minister for Fisheries and pointed to the responsibility 'to sustainably manage our fish stocks.'

Other members of the European Parliament delegation included Romanian MEPs Petru Luhan and Christian Dan Preda (both EPP), British MEPs Arlene McCarthy (S&D) and Diana Wallis (ALDE), Estonian MEP Indrek Tarand (Greens/EFA), Danish MEP Soren Bo Sonergaard (GUE/NGL) and Italian MEP Francesco Enrico Speroni (EFD).