The Icelandic parliament, Althingi, voted in favor of applying for membership to the European Union yesterday, following a proposal submitted by the government on May 28. Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir declared the event “historic.”
Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.
PM Sigurdardóttir released the following statement to the media yesterday:
“The Parliament has decided that Iceland will apply for membership to the European Union. This is an historic decision for Iceland. Today’s vote was likely one of my most enjoyable due to the importance I attach to this issue for Iceland.
“We will now deliver a formal application to the EU Presidency in the coming days and begin the process of preparing for accession negotiations. We will do our utmost to ensure broad participation and access for all political parties and interested parties in Iceland during the course of the negotiation process.”
“We will also disseminate information on the benefits and costs of EU membership to the general public to ensure an informed choice can be made in a national referendum on a prospective Treaty of Accession.”
“Iceland and the 27 member states of the EU share a common democratic and cultural heritage. Iceland has been an active participant in European cooperation for many decades.”
“As a Nordic welfare state and a member of the European Economic Area and Schengen Cooperation, Iceland is well prepared to discuss the conditions and terms for full membership with EU member states and institutions.”
The resolution proposal was submitted to parliament by Minister for Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphédinsson on May 28, which included a mandate by parliament for the Icelandic government to put forth an application.
The resolution was passed with 33 votes in favor, 28 against, and two abstentions. MPs from all five political parties voted in favor of the resolution.
The commenary submitted with the resolution states that the government shall be guided by the majority opinion of the foreign affairs committee on working methods and matters of important interests in its preparation and organization for future EU accession negotiations.
Iceland will formally submit the EU membership application on July 27 and negotiations are expected to take two years.
Click here to read more about the results of yesterday’s vote.