Iceland approves EU's third energy package

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Iceland on Monday approved the implementation of the European Union’s so-called third energy package ending years of heated debate in the country over the reform which aims to improve the functioning of the EU’s internal energy market.

The third energy package was approved by Iceland’s parliament with 46 votes in favor and 13 against, a spokeswoman for the industries ministry told Reuters.

The EU third energy package was proposed in 2007 and entered into force in 2009. It aims to integrate the EU energy market and boost competition.

But some of Iceland’s politicians had said it could harm the country’s sovereignty and even force it to build a power link to the EU. Iceland’s power network is not currently connected via any interconnector to the EU’s internal energy market.

Iceland’s foreign ministry repeatedly dismissed the criticisms.

Iceland is not an EU-member but is part of the European Economic Area (EEA), made up of EU member countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Iceland also belongs to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) which includes the EEA countries and Switzerland.

Iceland’s approval was needed for the package to come into effect in Iceland itself, Norway and Liechtenstein.

Reporting by Stine Jacobsen, additional reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis. Editing by Jane Merriman