Monday

16th May 2022

Iceland unions push government to join EU

  • Iceland's government needs trade union pension cash to put the economy back on track (Photo: Johannes Jansson/norden.org)

Iceland's trade unions want the country to join the European Union in return for help in an economic rescue plan, as the island state's government holds emergency talks to shore up its teetering economy.

The trade unions' Pension Fund Association (PFA) has told the government it is ready to repatriate some 200 billion krona (€13 billion) from overseas funds back into Icelandic banks, according to Icelandic public radio.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

But the quid pro quo demanded by the unions is that the government apply to join the European Union and adopt the euro, according to reports in the Morgunbladid newspaper.

A PFA memorandum argues the country's deepening financial crisis cannot be solved so long as Iceland holds on to the volatile krona, which has fallen 20 percent against the euro in the last month.

"Therefore we should aim for EU membership and the adoption of the euro as soon as possible," the Times of London quotes the document as saying.

Membership in the bloc has long been opposed on the small North Atlantic island - whose population numbers only 320,000 - largely due to concerns over loss of control over fishing grounds under the EU's Common Fisheries Policy.

In 1994 Iceland signed the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement with the European Union, allowing it to participate in the European Single Market without having to join the EU.

On 23 September, Iceland's European Committee, a body of government, trade union and industry representatives, met with EU officials to find out whether there were any legal blocks to Iceland adopting the euro unilaterally without joining the bloc.

But enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn said "the euro can only be adopted through European Union membership" after he met with the delegation, the Frettabladid newspaper reported.

Mr Rehn added that if Iceland were to apply for membership, negotiations would take less than a year to be completed.

In a separate move, the Icelandic government is expected on Monday (6 October) to announce an injection worth several billion euros into the country's central bank.

EU lobbies Hungary to break oil sanctions deadlock

After the EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen's Budapest trip, Hungary suggested it wants EU funds to offset the extra costs from receiving different oil sources, and the increased energy prices the planned Russian oil embargo entails.

Political groups shun far-right pro-Kremlin MEP

French MEP Thierry Mariani from the far-right Identity and Democracy Group is spearheading a report in the parliament's foreign affairs committee. The socialists are boycotting it.

Far-right loners pose ever-bigger EU terror threat

Far-right loners radicalised online pose an ever-bigger terrorist threat in Europe in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, EU intelligence and police services have warned.

Opinion

The EU Parliament Covid inquiry: the questions MEPs must ask

A basic lack of transparency around the EU's vaccines procurement negotiations has prevented effective public and parliamentary scrutiny. It has also made it impossible to answer some of the key questions we put forward here.

News in Brief

  1. German ruling party in regional election blow
  2. EU expanding arms-for-Ukraine programme
  3. Reports: EU drafts plans for Russia energy payments
  4. Pro-Russian hackers targeted Eurovision
  5. EU to donate extra €400m for Africa vaccines rollout
  6. Spain plans five-days 'menstrual leave' and to ease abortion rules
  7. MEPs reject proposal for stricter 2030 target on cars and vans
  8. Study: EU spent €341m on AI border technology

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  3. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  4. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersHuge support for Ukraine
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBWorkers want EC to limit subcontracting chains in construction

Latest News

  1. Sweden to join Finland in applying for Nato
  2. Russia sanctions and energy dominate Next WEEK
  3. Will 'Putin's Nato' follow Warsaw Pact into obscurity?
  4. EU reaches deal on flagship cybersecurity law
  5. EU to help Ukraine export grain — amid food shortages fears
  6. Revealed: Big Oil shaped EU's gas-cutting strategy
  7. EU: Ukrainians hesitating to register for protection
  8. UK says 'no choice but to act' over post-Brexit trade rules

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us