According to a new poll in Iceland by Gallup, published on September 1, support for EU membership in Iceland is now 43% and opposition 37%. According to the last EU poll in Iceland in February this year also by Gallup support for membership was 45% and opposition 34%. So the support has decreased by couple of percents since then and the opposition increased by 3%.
Support for starting membership negotiations with the EU keeps dropping as before and is now 55% compared to 91% in February 2002. Last February it was 59%. Some people in Iceland, who are nevertheless opposed to EU membership, obviously think we can start negotiations with the EU about membership just to see what it has to offer and then withdraw if we don't like what is on the table. That is, however, of course not an option from the EU's point of view.
Opposition to adopting the euro instead of the Icelandic króna remains high or 54% while only 37% support that. If only those who took stance to this issue are taken into the picture 59% are opposed to adopting the euro. Since obligation to adopt the euro is a part of joining the EU this in fact means 59% of Icelanders are opposed to EU membership. Obviously some number of Icelanders doesn't realise the link between EU membership and the euro. Something the eurosceptic movement in Iceland has to seriously look into.
No interest - no debate
But why have the political crises within the EU, as it seems, not affected the Icelandic people as for example the people of Norway? There seems to be only one logical explanation for this. For two and a half year there has been almost no debate in Iceland about the EU, unlike in Norway as I understand where there is always a certain ongoing debate. Therefore as a result what happens within the EU is more likely to affect people in Norway than in Iceland.
The question whether Iceland should join the EU or not simply seems to be almost dead among the Icelandic people - at least as it has been for the last couple of years or so. This is simply not high on people's list over the most important issues as it seems. What happens within the EU is something distant. After all Iceland is doing extremely well outside the EU.
However, the trend in Iceland has been that whenever a serious and active debate on the EU has started among the people, like before the last general elections in 2003, those opposed to EU membership have grown in numbers and in the end been in majority.
Finally, as a result of all this, the news coverage on the EU poll now has been without much interest and the common opinion of the Icelandic media is the same: Nothing new has happened in Iceland concerning the EU.