The accession process for Iceland has started only one year after it formally applied for membership, in the middle of its banking/economic crisis. Enlargement Commissioner Füle announced that screening process would start in the Autumn and hoped the process would be complete by next summer. Iceland claims it brings to the EU party expertise in geothermal energy and experience in sustainable fishing. More problematic is the stance on whaling. As well as fisheries and agriculture, other controversial issues are financial services, judicial reform, conflict of interest and free movement of capital. The tensions between Iceland on the one hand and the UK and the Netherlands on the other regarding Icesave Bank are bilateral issues lying outside the accession negotiations. The only other problem lying in the way of accession may be the Icelandic people, the majority of whom do not want to join the EU!
The approach to Iceland’s accession has been sharply contrasted with the experience of other countries. Turkey applied for full membership in 1987 and only started accession talks 18 years later; some negottiang chapters have bnlocked by France, Germany and Austria. Similarly theer is some concerned that the application of Serbia is likewise being overlooked.