Talks on Iceland's accession to EU to start on Tuesday
The first round of talks on Iceland's accession to the European Union will take place in Brussels later on Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported.
The European Parliament supported on July 7 the proposal by the European Commission to begin negotiations on the issue. The foreign ministers of the 27 EU member states approved the European Commission's recommendation in June.
The negotiations are expected to last from 12 to 18 months.
Before the start of the global economic downturn, Iceland, which has a population of about 320,000, was one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world. In 2007, it was ranked the most developed country in the world by the United Nations' Human Development Index, and the fourth most productive country per capita.
The country's economy has been heavily hit by the economic crisis, with its three major banks collapsing and the Icelandic krona declining more than 35% against the euro from January to September 2008. The economic disaster triggered political unrest in the country, resulting in early parliamentary elections which brought to power the left-wing government of Johanna Siguroardottir.