The final parliamentary meeting on the Third Energy Package finally concluded at 9.00pm on Thursday evening after beginning at 11.30 that morning. Vísir reports that voting on the package will take place on Monday.
Thursday’s debate was slightly more moderate in tone than it had been even the day before, Centre Party MP Ólafur Ísleifsson told reporters. The meeting was the last in a special late summer session to allow parliament to conclude debate and vote on the issue, which has been delayed multiple times throughout the spring term and the subject of multiple Centre Party-led filibusters, some of which have run for as long as 134 hours.
The main goal of the European Union’s Third Energy Package is to strengthen the internal energy market for gas and electricity in the EU in order to decrease the cost of energy. The European Union’s First Energy Package and Second Energy Package have already been agreed upon and adopted by members of the EU and EEA, including Iceland. The Third Energy Package was passed within the EU in 2009.
A decade later, Iceland is the only country that has not agreed to the package. Adopting it has proved controversial among Icelanders, some of whom believe it constituted handing over control of Iceland’s energy to European authorities. However, Iceland is not connected to Europe’s energy network and specialists in European law agree that it would not jeopardise the country’s sovereignty over publicly owned energy resources. Refusing to sign the agreement would be unprecedented and likely jeopardise Iceland’s membership in the European Economic Area.
Based on their speeches, it’s expected that MPs in the Centre and People’s Parties will vote against implementing the Third Energy Package. In addition, Pirate Party MP Jón Þór Ólafsson has also previously stated that he will not vote in favour of the initiative.