Saturday

28th 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.

Opinion

Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine - the case for granting EU candidacy

Granting EU candidacy status to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will firmly anchor their ties with Brussels — and enable the EU to secure its place in the Black Sea region, connecting Europe to China and energy-rich Central Asia, bypassing Russia.

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. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. 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
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us