Gallup poll: All quiet on the Icelandic front

According to a new poll in Iceland by Gallup there is still a "status quo" in the attitute of Icelanders towards the idea of joining the European Union. Some 45% are in favour of membership of the Union while 34% are against. 21% are uncertain. This is like it has been since 2003, a kind of a 50/50 situation with each side either in majority or minority by few percents. However, before 2003 those in favour of EU membership were usually in majority and even in some cases with 2/3 of the people.

On the other hand majority of Icelanders oppose the idea of adopting the euro or 51% with only 37% in favour. In 2002 this was reversed. Then 55% were in favour of the euro but only 33% against. But since 2003 there has been a steady majority against the single currency.

Support for starting membership negotiations with the EU also keeps dropping as before. Now it is 59%, last year it was 63%, in 2003 64% and in 2002 it was 91% according to polls by Gallup. But of course starting negotiations with the EU only to see what it has to offer is not available. This has been confirmed by number of senior politicians from the EU over the years. Also rejecting the euro in fact means rejecting EU membership and EU membership negotiations since joining the EU means adopting the single currency.

Also it ought to be mentioned that the issue has not been hot in Iceland since the beginning of the year 2003. We had general elections in the spring of that year and the leadership of the Social Democratic Alliance, the only Icelandic political party in favour of joining the EU, had claimed during the year 2002 that EU membership would be one of its main policies duning the elections campaign.

The issue was then debated in the second half of 2002 and in the beginning of 2003 number of polls indicated that Icelanders were far from endorsing the idea of joining the EU. As a result the leadership of the Social Democratic Alliance dropped the idea of putting EU membership on its agenda. So it must be considered very likely that if the matter was really being debated in Iceland, which is not the issue now, there would be a vast majority of Icelanders against EU membership.

The present coalition government in Iceland is against joining the EU and the next general elections will be in the spring of 2007. However, it is not likely that EU membership will be an issue in the elections campaign, at least not one of any importance, and far less likely that an EU positive government will take power in the wake of the elections.

The poll now, on the attitute of Icelanders towards EU membership, is obviously seen as so insignificant that only one newspaper in Iceland has so far bothered to report it. Usually all the major newspapers, raido stations and TV stations do but not this time. The reason is quite simple, all is quiet on the Icelandic front.

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