Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Iceland the EU and Whaling

It will be interesting to see how Iceland fairs with its bid for entry into the European Union, especially since a major issue with their joining the EU has been the country’s laws on fishing and their propensity for whaling.

Iceland applied for admission to the EU about a year ago and their application was accepted by the European Council soon after, and referred to the Comission to analyse Iceland’s preparedness for applications. Iceland’s target date for joining the EU is 2012. This past June, the country was officially granted candidate status, as the EU formally opened membership talks. This was also right around the same time as the IWC meeting in Morocco.

While the country has already adopted two thirds of of EU legislation, Iceland stands firm in their position on fishing and whaling, which will ultimately be their greatest hurdle in EU entry. Under the EU Habbits Directive, all cetaceans are protected species, so it follows that whaling is simply not allowed in the EU. Furthermore, EU members take a common position and vote as a bloc when it comes to international bodies like the IWC and CITES.

Especially after Iceland’s performance at June’s IWC meeting it’ll be exciting to see the NGO effort as groups like Greenpeace, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and Stop Whaling among others campaign against the country’s membership.

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