5/11/2013

EU membership rejected in general elections

Political parties opposed to the idea of joining the European Union are expected to form the next government of Iceland in the wake of the general elections on April 27. Talks to form a center-right coalition government by the conservative Independence Party (Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn) and the centrist Progressive Party (Framsóknarflokkurinn) are ongoing and said to be progressing well.

The Social Democratic Alliance (Samfylkingin), which formed the outgoing coalition withe the Left Green Movement (Vinstrihreyfingin - grænt framboð) and was mainly responsible for delivereing the EU membership application in 2009, repeatedly claimed during the election campaign that the only way to ensure that the accession process would continue was to vote for the party.

The Social Democratic Alliance got 12.9 percent of the votes in the general elections compared to 29.8 percent in the last elections in 2009. It is the biggest defeat a political party has suffered in Iceland since the country became a republic in 1944. The elections' results are as a consequence considered a rejection by the voters of the the accession process to the EU that started in 2009.

Since 2009 every single opinion poll published has shown around 2/3 of Icelanders opposed to joining the EU but for Iceland to become a member it will have to be accepted in a referendum. The political parties expected to form the next government both have the policy of stopping the accession talks with the EU and as a result that will probably be the outcome of their coalition talks.

2/23/2013

Want to stop the EU accession talks

Iceland's conservative Independence Party (Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn), the country's by far largest party according to polls (32-39 percent), restated its previous policy at its national congress this weekend that the EU accession negotiations should be stopped. The policy also says that for the issue to be addressed again there would have to be a clear will among the people for EU membership and it would have to be accepted in a special referendum.

The chairman of the Independence Party, Bjarni Benediktsson, today stressed that this policy, however, put no obligation on the party to hold such a referendum and by that revisit the issue. The interference of the EU delegation to Iceland in the domestic discussion on EU membership is furthermore protested and the policy that the EU Info Centres in the capital city of Reykjavík and the northern town of Akureyri should be closed was also accepted.

The Independence Party is widely expected to be the leading party of the next government after the general elections in Iceland in late April this year. Previously the Progressive Party (Framsóknarflokkurinn), which has been gaining increased support in recent polls (15-20 percent), had accepted similar policy regarding the EU accession talks at its national congress two weeks earlier.

Two-thirds of Icelanders have been against joining the EU according to every single opinion poll published in Iceland since the summer of 2009 or for more than three and a half year. According to the latest one published on February 13 some 63.3 percent oppose EU membership while less than a quarter support it or 24.2 percent.

Source:
Vilja hætta aðildarviðræðum (Rúv.is February 23, 2013)

See also:
Most Icelanders continue to reject EU membership

2/14/2013

Most Icelanders continue to reject EU membership

More than two thirds of Icelanders would vote against joining the European Union if a referendum would be held on the matter according to a new opinion poll published yesterday by the Icelandic polling company MMR.

According to the poll 63.3 percent now oppose EU membership while less than a quarter support it or 24.2 percent. If only those who said yes or no are measured more than 72 percent would reject joining the bloc in a referendum.

Large majority of Icelanders has now rejected EU membership according to every single opinion poll published in Iceland since the summer of 2009 or for more than three and a half year.

Source:
63,3% andvíg inngöngu í ESB (Mbl.is February 13, 2013)

1/05/2013

Minister says EU application must be reconsidered

The application to join the European Union must be reconsidered in light of a changed situation. This Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, Iceland's Minister for Industries and Innovation and chairman of the Left Green Movement, said in a New Year's greeting to his fellow party members on January 2.

Sigfússon said it was now „inevitable“ to reconsider the accession talks with the EU claiming the situation had changed as it was now obvious the talks would not be finished before the general elections scheduled in April this year. Furthermore he said the task over the next weeks was to decide how and when the Icelandic people would be asked for a guidence on how to address the matter.

By that Sigfússon was referring to a referendum asking the people if they want to continue with the EU application or put it aside. Support for such a referendum has been growing in Iceland among the political class and a recent opinion poll showed large majority for scrapping the application. There is also a large majority against EU membership and has been in every poll published in Iceland since August 2009.

Sigfússon's party is in government with the Social Democratic Alliance which favours EU membership while his own party, the Left Green Movement, is opposed to membership according to its policy. The leadership of the Left Greens, however, decided to allow the EU application in 2009 in order to form a government with the social democrats.

Since allowing the EU application the Left Green Movement has lost more than half its votes according to polls and three of the 14 MPs they got elected in the last general elections. The reason is primarily considered to be the party's decision to allow the application in 2009 and support it ever since.

Source:
Óumflýjanlegt að endurmeta stöðuna (Mbl.is January 3, 2013)

See also:
Want the EU application on ice
Wants to slow down the EU accession
Majority wants to scrap the EU application

Majority against EU membership for three years
Iceland's business leaders reject EU membership
Iceland's industry turns against EU membership
67 percent would reject EU membership

12/18/2012

Want the application on ice

The majority of the Foreign Committee of the Icelandic parliament put forth a proposal this morning calling for Iceland's application to join the European Union to be set aside. The matter then should not be addressed again unless accepted in a referendum.

The majority was formed by the representatives of the Independence Party, the Progressive Party, which are in opposition, and Jón Bjarnason, MP for the Left Green Movement and former Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, but his party is part of the governing coalition. The proposal will be put to the parliament in order to find out if the majority of the MPs will support it.

Earlier this month Árni Þór Sigurðsson, MP for the Left Greens and chairman of the Foreign Committe, said that he wanted to slow down Iceland's accession process to the EU until after the general elections scheduled in April next year. A new government would then have the task of decided whether to carry on with the process or not. He is, however, not expected to support the proposal.

Source:
Viðræðurnar við ESB verði settar á ís (Mbl.is December 18, 2012)

See also:
Wants to slow down the EU accession

Majority wants to scrap the EU application

Majority against EU membership for three years
Iceland's business leaders reject EU membership
Iceland's industry turns against EU membership
67 percent would reject EU membership

12/07/2012

Wants to slow down the EU accession

The chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Icelandic parliament, Árni Þór Sigurðsson, told the Icelandic media yesterday that he thought that Iceland's accession to the European Union should be slowed down until after the general elections scheduled in April next year and even put aside.

Sigurðsson is an MP for the Left Green Movement and a senior member of the party which forms the current Icelandic government with the Social Democratic Alliance. The SDA is the only political party in Iceland that favours EU membership.

He stressed that this was so far only an opinion and no decision had been made on the matter. However, this was directly liked to similar opinions raised last autumn by himself and a couple of Left Green ministers in the government.

Sigurðsson also said that after the elections in April a newly elected parliament could then possibly take a new decision whether to continue with the accession process or not. His comments are seen by many as a desperate move because of the elections.

The Left Green leadership decided to allow the EU application in 2009 in order to form a government with the social democrats despite the fact their party is opposed to membership according to its platform. The decision has among other things resulted in the Left Greens loosing about haft the votes they got in the last elections according to polls.

Meanwhile, primaries of the political parties so far are seen as suggesting that the next parliament will be more eurosceptic than the current one. Egill Helgason, a talk show host on the national broadcaster RÚV and a known supporter of EU membership, wrote on his blog in November:

"As we get results from more primaries and the forming of lists of candidates EU membership for Iceland becomes more distant. If it would have been hard to get it through the current parliament it will be almost impossible at the next one."

Vast majority of Icelanders oppose EU membership and have according to every opinion poll published in Iceland for more than three years. The majority also does not want to adopt the euro and wants the EU application withdrwan.

Sources:
Ferlið jafnvel lagt til hliðar (Mbl.is December 6, 2012)
ESB-aðildin fjarlægist í prófkjörum (Eyjan.is November 26, 2012)

See also:
Majority wants to scrap the EU application
Majority against EU membership for three years
Iceland's business leaders reject EU membership
Iceland's industry turns against EU membership
67 percent would reject EU membership

11/12/2012

Majority wants to scrap the EU application

Most Icelanders want to withdraw their country's application to join the European Union according to a new public opinion poll produced by Capacent Gallup for Heimssýn, the Icelandic movement opposed to EU membership, and published today.

53.5 percent want to scrap the EU application according to the poll while 36.4 percent wish to maintain it. The rest was uncertain. If only those in favour of withdrawing the application or opposed to it are counted 59.5 percent want the application scrapped while 40.5 percent want to carry on with it.

Similar poll was produced by Capacent Gallup for Heimssýn in June 2011 where 51 percent wanted to withdraw the EU application while 38.5 percent were opposed to that. According to that support for scrapping the application has grown while oppositon to that has decreased.

The difference between this outcome and polls about whether or not Icelanders want to actually join the EU is due to the fact that a small part of those opposed to membership want to the issue to go to an eventual referendum and be rejected by the people.

Source:
Þeim fjölgar sem vilja afturkalla ESB-umsóknina (Mbl.is November 12, 2012)

See also:
Majority against EU membership for three years

10/15/2012

Majority against EU membership for three years

Most Icelanders have opposed joining the European Union for more than three years now according to every single opinion poll which has been published in the country regardless of who has produced it or for whom.

The newest opinion poll was published today by Capacent Gallup and according to it 57.6 percent of Icelanders are against EU membership while 27.3 percent support it. The rest is undecided. If only those in favour or opposed are measured about 68 percent ara against joining the EU and 32% in favour of the step.

Compared to the poll produced before the current poll the opposition has increased by 3.8 percent, from 53.8 percent to 57.6 percent as it is now. The support has on the other hand remained about the same. According to the poll those against EU membership are much more firm in their opinion with most supporters of joining the EU only saying the are rather much in favour.

The poll also found that large majority of the voters of all the major political parties in Iceland are opposed to EU membership except for the Social Democratic Alliance (Samfylkingin) which heads the current coalition government in Iceland and is the only political party in favour of joining the bloc. Which in turn is the sole reason why the EU application his being maintained.

The newest opinion poll in Iceland on Icelanders attitude towards the euro from earlier this year also show most Icelanders opposed to adopting it instead of the Icelandic króna and the newest poll on the nations view of the EU application shows majority in favour of withdrawing it.

Source:
Mikill meirihluti andvígur aðild að ESB (Mbl.is October 15, 2012)

8/13/2012

Social democrats worried about the EU application

The Left Green Movement must stick to the government pact which includes continued support for Iceland's application to join the European Union. If they do not that will mean the end of the current center-left government in Iceland led by the Social Democratic Alliance. This is the reaction by the leaders of Iceland's social democrats to claims from leading people within the Left Green Movement over the weekend that the application should be reconsidered.

The media in Iceland, including the state broadcaster RUV and the prominent newspaper Morgunblaðið, claim the majority of the Left Green MPs and government ministers are in favour of reconsidering the EU application. According to their platform the Left Greens are opposed to EU membership but the party allowed the application after the 2009 general elections in order to be able to form a government with the Social Democratic Alliance which is the only political party in Iceland that favours joining the EU.

The Left Greens have lost about half the votes they got in 2009 according to repeated opinion polls and fear facing the voters before the general elections scheduled next spring if they do not turn against the EU application. There are also growing calls among the social democrats that perhaps it would be wise to put the EU application on ice or even scrap it all together due to the unpopularity of the matter among the Icelandic electorate but at least 2/3 of them would reject joining the EU in a referendum according to opinion polls.

8/12/2012

Want the EU application reconsidered

Katrín Jakobsdóttir
Leading people in the junior coalition partner of Iceland's government, the Left Green Movement, including the vice-chairman and at least most of their ministers and MPs believe the country's EU application should be reconsidered. This was the first news story in the evening news of Iceland's state broadcaster RUV last night Saturday.

RUV talked to both Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Minister of Education, Science and Culture and vice-chairman of the Left Green Movement, and Svandís Svavarsdóttir, Minister for the Environment, who both claimed the EU application should be reconsidered. The state broadcaster also said it also got similar reactions from most of the MPs of the party.

According to RUV's news story the Left Greens are worried that their party will suffer greatly if they carry on allowing the EU accession process as they have done since 2009 when the application was delivered. They also claim that many things have changed since three years ago citing the eurozone economic problems and uncertainty where the EU is heading.

The policy of the Left Greens is opposition to EU membership but they allowed the application after the 2009 general elections in order to form a government with the Social Democratic Alliance, the only political party in Iceland favouring membership.

According to opinion polls in Iceland more than 2/3 would reject EU membership in a referendum but for the country to join the bloc it would first have to be accepted by a popular vote. Furthermore the Left Greens have lost half the votes they got in 2009 accoring to opinion polls.

RUV's news story (in Icelandic)