Iceland’s application for membership to the European Union will without a doubt have an impact in Norway and give the right-wing parties a reason to discuss the EU again, according to Norwegian journalist Ingrid Skjoetskift, who specializes in EU matters.
From Oslo. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Norway has twice applied for membership to the EU and on both occasions the membership agreement was rejected in referendums.
Skjoetskift, who writes for Norwegian newspapers Adresseavisen, Bergens Tidene and Stavanger Aftenblad, told mbl.is that Iceland’s application alone won’t change much about the attitude of Norwegians towards the EU.
However, once Iceland’s membership agreement is on the table, it might change the debate in Norway, especially the part that concerns the fishing industry.
“I believe that what lies ahead might change the attitude of many Norwegians and draw attention to the fact that Norway might end up as the only Nordic nation outside the European Union. With Iceland’s admission, Norway would also be the only Nordic nation left in the EEA cooperation,” Skjoetskift said.
“On the other hand, I don’t think Iceland’s application will change much in the short term because the Norwegian argument on the EU is very black and white. Either you are for or against membership. There hasn’t been a real debate on pros and cons of membership for years,” Skjoetskift added.
“However, I think the discussion will start to evolve more around facts when it is clear what Iceland’s membership agreement will look like. The fishing industry is key. It was the main reason for Norway rejecting membership in the 1972 referendum and had considerable weight in 1994 [when Norway rejected membership for the second time],” Skjoetskift said.
Iceland’s application to the EU has been covered extensively in the international media. The story was, for example, covered on the website of the Azerbaijan Business Center, which claimed that if Iceland is granted membership to the EU, it would be a political insult towards Turkey, mbl.is reports.
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