The possibility of dismissing the EEA Agreement discussed in a parliament committee

The possibility of dismissing Iceland's membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) is set to be discussed soon in a special parliament committee on European affairs. Halldór Ásgrímsson, Prime Minister of Iceland, informed the Icelandic parliament, the Althing, about this yesterday. The committee was appointed last summer and has representatives from all the political parties represented in the parliament. The majority of the people in the committee is, however, eurosceptic.

The chairman of the committee, Björn Bjarnason Minister of Justice, said to the Icelandic newspaper Fréttablaðið that the ideas of Ragnar Árnason, professor of economics at the University of Iceland, about possible dismissal of the EEA Agreement, would be discussed in the committee. However, Bjarnason said the committee did not intend to make any decisions on the matter at this point but only to obtain information.

The ideas of Professor Árnason were in short that Iceland should consider dismissing the EEA Agreement and stay outside both the European Union and the European Economic Area. Instead the country should seek to sign bilateral agreements with the EU concerning commerce and other issues similar to what Switzerland has done.

It should be emphasised that this does not mean that the Icelandic government has any intention of dismissing the EEA Agreement. Icelandic authorities simply wish to examine all possibilities when it comes to ensuring Iceland's interests abroad.

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