President of Iceland Causes Controversy with EU Remarks Skip to content

President of Iceland Causes Controversy with EU Remarks

In his speech at the first session of Althingi (Iceland’s Parliament) President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson said that in Europe “there is really not much in interest in finishing the agreement on Iceland’s application for membership of the European Union (EU). The president quoted unnamed European leaders. He concluded that it was meaningless that Iceland continue the negotiations since the Europeans would not risk losing another Nordic vote for joining (Norway has rejected joining the EU twice; however three other Nordic countries, Denmark, Sweden and Finland are members).

The President. Photo Geir Ólafsson/Iceland Review

Former Foreign Minister, Össur Skarphéðinsson, said that he knew of no European leader who was against Iceland joining with the exception of Václav Klaus, the former president of the Czech Republic (who according to Össur is also against geothermal power plants).

Peter Stano, spokesman for Štefan Füle, Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy commissioner for the EU, replied: “The decision to start negotiations with Iceland was taken unanimously by all member states of the EU. That decision still stands.”

The negotiations had been stalled by the previous government before the elections and the new government seems determined not to continue them further. However, both the Prime Minster and the Minister of Finance have said that it should be put before the nation in an election whether the negotiations should continue. The agreement consists of 33 chapters. Of these 11 had been finished and 16 more had been opened.

Peter Steano told that the EU respects the decision of the government and the will of the Icelandic nation. He said that “EU will be ready with a position that takes notice of Iceland’s special needs and at the same time guards that regulatory framework and makes it possible to take an enlightened stand.”


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