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    Thousands of protesters gather in front of teh Parliament in the Icelandic capital Reykjavik on February 24, 2014

    EU Respects Iceland’s Move to Suspend Application Bid - Official

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    The European Union respects Iceland's decision to suspend their EU application bid, EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) The official reaction came a day after the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the government no longer considered Iceland to be an EU candidate.

    "It is of course the prerogative of the country, of Iceland to take free and sovereign decision on how to pursue its relationship with the European Union. And we of course fully respect such a decision," Kocijancic said in statement e-mailed to Sputnik.

    She added that "the doors remain open" for Iceland, which has suspended their bid for two years but would remain a key partner for the European Union.

    Iceland first applied for EU membership in 2009, but the country's coalition government of the Independence Party and the Progressive Party, which won the 2013 elections, does not support the bid.

    In January, Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson said the EU admission talks were "back at square one."

    Iceland is closely connected with the 28-country European Union, which accounts for an estimated two thirds of the country's foreign trade.

    Iceland is a member of the European Economic Area and participates in many EU agencies and programs.

    Related:

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    Iceland Withdrawal of EU Application in Breach of Referendum Promise
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