From a speech by Foreign Minister Haarde in Berlin March 29, 2006

With respect to the EU and EFTA, I know it is of some curiosity here in Germany, whether Iceland has plans to join the European Union. We follow developments within the EU very closely after all the EU is by far our biggest trading partner, and some of our closest friends are members. We wish the EU well and want to see it succeed inits endeavours. Indeed, I would say that the EU is one of the major contributors to peace both in our region and world wide. However, there are no pressing reasons for Iceland to join the Union; indeed, there are certain matters, such as the EUs common fisheries policy, which would make joining very problematic.

The very different nature of our economies would also present major obstacles. Economic fluctuations in Iceland do not follow the same cycle as those in the major economies of the euro zone. Therate of the euro and the interest rate policy of the European Central Bank reflect conditions in the major economies of the euro zone and not conditions as they are in Iceland. The Icelandic economy is frequently in a different phase to the major EU countries. Thus Iceland has completely different requirements in economic management than the larger countries of the euro zone, not least in matters of interest rates.

The Foreign Ministry