Saturday

21st Jan 2017

EU bid causes tension in Iceland government

  • The euro zone crisis has caused concern among Iceland's Left Green party, which now questions the island-nation's bid to join the EU (Photo: European Commission)

Iceland's coalition government risks splitting up over how to handle the country's EU bid and the euro crisis.

Foreign minister Ossur Skarphedinsson, from the Social Democratic Alliance party, told national radio on Monday (13 August) that EU membership is integral to the left-wing coalition's platform.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"We made an agreement, which the Social Democratic Alliance agreed to as well as the other government party. If the situation arises that the government parties feel they can't stick to that agreement, we of course have to totally re-evaluate the situation," he said, AFP reports.

The foreign minister in April presented his annual report on EU accession negotiations to parliament.

"When it comes to Iceland's interests we are all a part of the same team," he said at the time.

But for their part, some in Left Green party, who had always opposed joining the EU, want to reconsider their coalition deal on EU membership in the context of the euro storm.

The Left Green party agreed to EU accession talks but on condition that a referendum among the island's 320,000 people would determine the final say on membership.

Katrin Jakobsdottir, the minister of education, science and culture and a Left Green member, said that Europe’s political and economic problems have since generated a sense of uncertainty that can no longer be ignored.

"It is clear that this [financial] uncertainty has considerable affects on the [accession] process in Iceland," she said.

Formal negotiations on Iceland's EU membership started in July 2010.

EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele at the time said Iceland's membership would bring it "economic and monetary stability and a voice at the EU decision-making table."

Iceland, which was one of the first causalities of the financial crisis in 2008, currently enjoys low unemployment and a trade surplus.

It exports some 59 percent of its GDP and had also allowed its banks to fail in the wake of the crisis. The next parliamentary elections will be held in 2013.

Interview

'Don't push Turkey away', says writer Elif Shafak

Novelist and essayist Elif Shafak said that isolating Turkey would "play into the hands of populism" and that liberals everywhere should defend their values with "emotional intelligence".

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey