Iceland’s EU Membership Plans Still on Track

Written by | Tuesday, May 13th, 2014
@Eubulletin

Iceland’s government announced yesterday (May 12) that it decided to put off its plans to withdraw the application for EU membership. The country’s current eurosceptic centre-right government announced in mid-February that it drafted a bill to withdraw Iceland’s EU membership bid of 2009 without organizing a referendum. Yet, mass demonstrations were held outside the country’s parliament in March and April, calling on the ruling parties to honour election promises to put the EU issue to a referendum.
Iceland’s foreign affairs minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson promised that the parliament would come back to the issue of EU membership right after the summer break. He said that he did not expect the government parties to manage to pass the motion through as there were more pending and more important matters that had to be dealt with. Mr Sveinsson also pointed out that the government was not in any negotiations with the EU and does not intend to launch any formal EU accession negotiations, which is why he considered the whole issue a formality.
Iceland’s opinion surveys and polls suggest that most of Icelanders would prefer a referendum on whether the country should join the EU. This was in fact initially promised by the governing Progressive Party and Independence Party as well. Formal negotiations on the EU accession started in July 2010. Being part of the Schengen Area and EU’s internal market, Iceland had already been immensely intertwined with the EU economy and market although it cannot find a common ground with Brussels on a number of issues such as fisheries.

Article Categories:
EUROPE'S NEIGHBORHOOD

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