Iceland on the road to the EU

15th of September 2011

Iceland has started accession talks to join the EU, setting off a process that could take several years and hit stumbling blocks over fishing rules and debt.

The early phase of talks should proceed smoothly, because unlike other EU hopefuls in the western Balkans, Iceland comes to the negotiating table well prepared in many areas thanks to its membership of Europe's economic and travel cooperation zones.

But the nation of 320,000 people faces difficult issues later in the process, when it will likely have to address EU opposition to its whaling traditions and share control over its lucrative fishing industry.

Iceland has resisted joining the EU for decades - it applied in 2009 when its banking system collapsed and it sought the stability of membership.


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