The European Union (EU) currently has 27 nations as its members, and the recent economic downturn has prompted Iceland and Croatia to apply for joining the EU.

The current presidency of EU is held by Sweden, which will be taken over by Spain on January 1, 2010 and Miguel Angel Moratinos, the Spanish Foreign Minister has expressed his interest in settling the membership of Iceland and Croatia before the Spanish presidency of EU concludes in June 2010.

Fishing has been the pivotal means of Iceland’s economy for generations, hence the trickiest part of the negotiations would be over fishing quotas and Moratinos has assured Iceland they will receive their fair share.

Meanwhile, Croatia, blocked by Slovenia over EU negotiations since 1991, has also made some progress in EU accession talks recently.