Fewer than 28 percent of respondents in a new survey conducted by University of Iceland sociology professor Rúnar Vilhjálmsson support European Union membership for Iceland. Around 54 percent of respondents oppose it and 19 percent are undecided.
The European Central Bank in Frankfurt. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Most of the respondents who support the Independence Party, Progressive Party, Left-Greens and the new political party Samstaða are against EU membership, while the voters of the Social Democrats mostly support joining the EU, ruv.is reports.
Foreign Minister Össur Skarphéðinsson said certain issues explain the increased opposition towards EU membership among Icelanders; the EU taking Norway’s and Britain’s side in the mackerel dispute and the European Commission’s intercession in the case of the EFTA Supervision Authority (ESA) against Iceland over Icesave.
However, Icelanders will realize that the nation’s interests are best protected within the EU once the accession agreement has been finalized, Össur reasoned, declaring it out of the question to terminate membership talks.
Those who are against the talks must provide other options on how to abolish capital controls, decrease interests and ensure financial stability, the minister added.
Vice-chair of the Left-Greens, Minister of Education Katrín Jakobsdóttir, said she is not surprised by the outcome of the survey, naming the same reasons for increased opposition as Össur.
Also, when people look at the situation in Iceland in a bigger context and compare it to that of the EU states, they see that it isn’t as bad as it first appeared, Katrín added. She said she believes Icelanders will reject EU membership in a national referendum.