Foreign Minister of Iceland, Össur Skarphédinsson, a member of the Social Democratic Alliance, was interviewed by Morgunbladid after the European leaders meeting in Brussels have just agreed to take up negotiations with Iceland on possible membership to the European Union on June 17. Excerpts follow:
Foreign Minister Össur Skarphédinsson. Photo: Geir Ólafsson/Iceland Review
M: “This application has been long in preparation. How do you feel today that you have reached this milestone?”
Ö: “I am very glad. I think this is a day of good fortune for Iceland, because I believe that the application and a membership of the European Union is a fundament in the rebuilding of a New Iceland.
I am convinced that this will bring us fortune and prosperity and I watch when the EU, in spite of all, has managed to secure a solid economic foundation with an acceptable, sustainable economic growth, low interest rates and a low inflation rate. I believe that is will be very difficult for us to build up a new Iceland on the foundation of the old Icelandic króna.
I think that for Iceland the choice is going into the future with the króna and trade restrictions on one hand and the euro with low interest rates and low inflation on the other hand.
The day is also important because it is a big step towards fulfilling the will of Althingi of starting negotiations with the EU, come to an agreement and put that treaty to a national vote.”
Skarphédinsson believes that public discontent with the Icesave-negotiations has had a negative impact on public support for the EU application.