Tuesday

17th Oct 2017

Opinion

The unwanted EU application

  • The newest poll shows 64.5 percent of Icelanders are opposed to EU membership and merely 35.5 percent in favour (Photo: Eivind Sætre/norden.org)

For many people it is increasingly a puzzle why the Icelandic government is carrying on with its application to join the European Union. Even sources from within the EU institutions have questioned whether there is any point in continuing this journey.

The application was delivered in July 2009 in the wake of the economic collapse in Iceland in the autumn of 2008.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

For decades Icelanders have been opposed to joining the bloc but with the collapse, supporters of membership saw an opportunity to finally get an application through. They managed to do so after the general elections in the country in the spring of 2009 but only because the leadership of the Left Green Movement, the party furthest to the left in Icelandic politics, decided to ignore its policy of being against joining the EU and allow the application in order to form a government with the only political party in Iceland in favour of membership, the Social Democratic Alliance.

My party, the centrist Progressive Party, adopted a new policy on the EU during its last national congress in April this year. The policy firmly rejects EU membership, replacing a previous policy supporting accession negotiations with certain strict conditions - conditions the EU could never have accepted as the Progressive Party has never been in favour of EU membership.

Since the EU application was delivered, opposition to membership has increased significantly in Iceland. For more than two years now, every single opinion poll in Iceland has shown a majority of Icelanders are opposed to joining the bloc.

The most recent one, produced by Capacent Gallup, was published on 11 August. It showed 64.5 percent opposed to EU membership and 35.5 percent in favour. Furthermore, most Icelandic people want to withdraw the application, according to another poll by Capacent Gallup published on 30 June this year. These results come as no surprise.

The EU application has been fought over within the Left Green Movement ever since the 2009 elections. Two of its government ministers openly oppose it, including the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. There obviously are growing worries about the application within the ranks of the social democrats as well. But their problem is that joining the EU is the only policy they have to offer.

The social democrats’ desperation has become so serious that the chairman of the Social Democratic Alliance and Iceland’s current Prime Minister, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, gave a speech at the party’s national congress earlier this year urging supporters of EU membership in other Icelandic political parties to join the social democrats. She offered to change the name of the party, its policy or leadership if necessary. The Social Democratic Alliance has lost much of its support over the last couple of years, according to polls.

As a consequence of this, there have been growing calls in Iceland that the EU application should be withdrawn. But the government has rejected this move, just as it rejected calls in 2009 to put the application to a referendum because they knew it would be thrown out by the people if given the chance.

The Icelandic government’s EU application is, and has been from the start, a total waste of resources for both the EU itself and Iceland. The Icelandic people will never accept to give up sovereignty and independence over themselves, their country and their natural resources, including full authority over the fishing grounds around Iceland and over agriculture.

The EU application should never have been sent and it should never have been accepted.

The writer is a member of the Icelandic parliament for the liberal Progressive Party (Framsóknarflokkurinn)

Batteries set to 'charge' our economy

By 2025, the European battery sector will be worth €250 billion annually - the decisions we take now will decide where the jobs to serve it are created, says EU commissioner Maros Sefcovic.

Left flirting with antisemitism in EU parliament

It is outrageous that Leila Khaled, a member of a group listed by the EU as a terrorist organisation, was given a platform in the EU parliament, a body representing democracy and peaceful cooperation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  2. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  6. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  7. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  8. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  9. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  10. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  12. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year

Latest News

  1. EU-Russia trade bouncing back - despite sanctions
  2. No sign of Brexit speed-up after May-Juncker dinner
  3. EU defence strategy 'outsourced' to arms industry
  4. EU privacy rules tilt to industry, NGO says
  5. Malta in shock after car bomb kills crusading journalist
  6. Spanish and Catalan leaders continue stand-off
  7. May pleads for more, as EU makes Brexit gesture
  8. EU circles the wagons around Iran deal