The conclusion of a potential referendum on European Union membership for Iceland will not be binding, only consulting, as revealed in discussions at Iceland’s Althingi parliament yesterday.
The EU Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
Chairman of the Independence Party Bjarni Benediktsson asked Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir about the connection between the bill on referendums, which is currently being worked on, and possible application for EU membership, Fréttabladid reports.
Benediktsson pointed out that without changes to the constitution, referendums in Iceland cannot be binding.
Sigurdardóttir confirmed that the bill only applied to consulting referendums and that such a referendum would take place when and if the nation were faced with the question on whether to accept or reject a membership agreement to the EU.
However, it’s self-evident that Althingi invariably follows the will of the nation in handling this matter, the PM added.
“This is some news brought to us by the distinguished prime minister,” Benediktsson commented. “Namely that the nation will not have the final say on membership to the European Union.”
Sigurdardóttir dismissed the remark as a misrepresentation of the facts, pointing out that elections were necessary for the constitution to be changed so that Iceland could join the EU in the first place.
Benediktsson also asked whether it was possible to have a double referendum. Sigurdaróttir rejected that possibility.