Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Daniel Kawczynski (Shrewsbury and Atcham, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his Icelandic counterpart on Iceland's possible membership of the EU; and what support he has offered to the government of Iceland on preparation for EU membership.
David Lidington (Minister of State (Europe and NATO), Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Aylesbury, Conservative)
I last met Iceland's Foreign Minister, Mr Ossur Skarphéðinsson, during the London Conference on Libya in March 2011, when I reiterated the UK Government's strong support for Iceland's EU accession. We believe that the process of EU accession offers the most effective means to help resolve at the EU level challenging areas, such as fisheries, finance and the environment (including whaling).
Practical support to help Iceland prepare for EU membership is provided through the EU's Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), which provides targeted funding to all candidate countries to ensure they are ready to take on the responsibilities of EU membership upon accession. The total value of the Instrument for Iceland is approximately €12 million per year, of which the UK contributes approximately €1.5 million. While Iceland is already highly aligned to much of the EU acquis, the Instrument is valuable in helping Iceland to tackle specific niche areas that remain outstanding. Iceland also contributes its own funding to complement funds provided under the IPA.