In These New Times

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Iceland to Become EU Member by 2011?

Posted by seumasach on January 30, 2009


Iceland Review

30th January, 2009

EU officials have announced that Iceland’s application for EU membership could be expedited in an effort to save the nation from financial ruin. In a process that normally takes years or even decades, Iceland could become the 29th member of the EU as early as 2011.

EU Central Bank, Frankfurt, Germany. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

“The EU prefers two countries joining at the same time rather than individually,” Olli Rehn, EU commissioner in charge of enlargement, told the Guardian. “If Iceland applies shortly and the negotiations are rapid, Croatia and Iceland could join the EU in parallel. On Iceland, I hope I will be busier. It is one of the oldest democracies in the world and its strategic and economic positions would be an asset to the EU.”

After Iceland’s conservative-led government collapsed on Monday, the president charged the Social Democrats and Left-Greens with the task of creating a new minority administration until elections are held in the spring.

The new coalition government is expected to announce their ministerial assignments and platform tomorrow, including whether Iceland’s prospective EU application will be put to national referendum alongside the spring parliamentary elections.

The Social Democrat’s official policy has been generally favorable towards Iceland’s application the EU, while the Left-Greens have remained opposed to EU membership throughout the crisis. If the EU matter is put to national referendum, recent polling data indicates that the vote would be very close.

Capacent Gallup’s poll from January 18 shows that 38.3 percent of Icelanders would like to Iceland join the EU while 37.7 percent are against membership.

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