Chances of a pro-EU government in Iceland keep decreasing

It seems as if a similar situation is developing in Iceland as in Norway. That is, we either can have a center-right government (The Independence Party and the Progressive Party) or a center-left government (The Social Democratic Alliance, the Left Green Movement and the Liberal Party). That the voters will be faced with only those two possibilities of government. Neither form will put EU membership on the agenda since the social democrats are the only party in favour of membership negotiations with the EU.

After the Progressive Party's national congress last weekend the chances decreased very much that the Social Democratic Alliance will be interested in forming a government with the party since the new leadership is more center-right than center-left and thus likely to seek continued cooperation with the Independence Party after the general elections in May next year. The new leadership is also more eurosceptic than the previous one.

The leadership of the Social Democratic Alliance now says that the party will focus on trying to form a center-left government with the Left Green Movement and the Liberal Party after the elections if the parties will get a majority in the parliament. That this will be its first choice. In any case the Independence Party, having the Prime Minister now, will have the first chance to form a government and will most likely look first to continued cooperation with the Progressive Party.

So chances of a pro-EU government in Iceland just keep decreasing, especially after Halldór Ásgrímsson left politics. He tried for years to raise the issue, both within his own party and outside it, but without any results. In his parting speech at the party's national congress he again stressed that Iceland should look more to the EU and called for a debate on whether Iceland should join the EU or not. Still the party accepted a resolution stating that the EEA Agreement is suiting Iceland fine and that everything suggests it will continue to do so in the years to come.

The pro-EUs in the party made no attempt this time, like at the previous national congress, to have the party accept a pro-EU policy. After all they had to retreat completely at the previous one. It is also very likely that that attempt was planned by Ásgrímsson himself although he obviously didin't want his involvement to be official.