New EU poll in Iceland

The results of a new poll on the attitute of Icelanders towards membership of the European Union were presented yesterday evening. The poll was produced by Capacent Gallup for the state television RÚV and showed 61 percent in favour of starting membership talks with the EU and 27 percent against. However, according to the poll Icelanders are split evenly in their attitute towards EU membership itself with 39 percent both in favour and against.

Majority of the voters of all the political parties represented in the Icelandic parliament except for the conservative Independence Party (Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn) are in favour of membership talks with the EU. At the same time majority of the voters of all the political parties except the Social Demcratic Alliance (Samfylkingin) are opposed to membership as such.

There has been a debate in Iceland since yesterday that it obviously depends which question is being asked. Polls where people have been asked if they supported starting membership talks with the EU have usually showed majority in favour of that. However, polls asking if people wish to apply for EU membership have showed majority against doing that, like polls this year for the Icelandic daily Fréttablaðið.

If Iceland would decide to start membership talks with the EU it would first have to apply for EU membership. That is the first step. But it seems many people in Iceland don't realise this and think that it is possible to just start talks with the EU to see what is in the package, to get to the bottom of the issue once and for all as some have phrased it, without any commitments. Of course this is not the case.

Mikill meirihluti vill viðræður (Rúv.is 06/05/09)