EU Talks Cause Tension in Iceland’s Coalition Skip to content

EU Talks Cause Tension in Iceland’s Coalition

Minister of Education Katrín Jakobsdóttir, who is vice-chair of the Left-Green Movement, and Minister for the Environment Svandís Svavarsdóttir, also of the Left-Greens, declared in the evening news on national broadcaster RÚV on Saturday that they and other MPs of the party would like to reconsider Iceland’s EU accession talks.

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Foreign Minister Össur Skarphéðinsson. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson, who is a member of the other coalition party, the Social-Democratic Alliance, told ruv.is yesterday that there is no reason to reconsider the talks.

If the Left-Greens were to request that, the coalition would need to be reconsidered, Össur said.

Katrín and Svandís stated that the situation in Europe has changed since the accession process began and it is clear that the talks won’t conclude in time for the next parliamentary election in the spring of 2013.

They said that within the Left-Green Movement MPs want to seek other means than to continue talks as scheduled, either postpone them or even withdraw Iceland’s membership application to the European Union. Another suggestion is that the nation should vote on whether talks should continue.

Katrín and Svandís find it important that the coalition parties find a joint solution and want to discuss the matter.

However, Össur finds there is nothing to discuss. “We made a government agreement. It was signed by the Social Democrats as well as the other coalition party. If a situation arises where the coalition parties find that they cannot follow the agreement they signed, the entire situation would have to be reviewed.”

According to RÚV’s sources informal discussions between the coalition parties have taken place. Össur stated a request on formal discussions on the subject has not been made and wouldn’t comment on whether the Social Democrats would be open to such talks.

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ESA

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