Monday

17th Jun 2019

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"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.

EU split on Western Balkans accession

Europe's credibility is at risk in the Western Balkans, half its member states have warned - but EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said Albania and North Macedonia unlikely to start accession talks soon.

Tensions mount over Kosovo-Serbia deal

Serbia will never recognise Kosovo, Serbia's foreign minister has said, as the Western Balkans heads into a new period of turbulence.

Opinion

EU report recognises Albania's achievements

Albania currently faces a serious crisis, which it would be foolish for all actors in the international community to ignore. Yet we must ask that our partners in Europe read Federica Mogherini's report carefully and recognise accomplishments.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. Erdogan mocks Macron amid EU sanctions threat
  2. The most dangerous pesticide you've never heard of
  3. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  4. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  5. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  6. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  7. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue
  8. Meet the lawyer taking the EU migration policy to the ICC

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us