EU membership? No thank you!

European politicians and journalists visiting Iceland in recent months have been quite astonished to experience first hand how little interest Icelandic MPs and Icelanders in general have in joining the European Union. So astonished in fact that Icelandic lawmakers have repeatedly been asked if the EU application delivered by the Icelandic government in 2009 is really serious. Well, quite frankly it isn't. It is a door bell prank. No one really is there when the bell rings and the door is opened.

There is a reason why Iceland has never before applied to join the EU. There has always been a strong opposition to membership in the country. The necessary support among the Icelandic people has in fact never been there and the present government was and is well aware of that. Still the EU was deliberately told differently. And now the EU is waking up to a bad dream and realising that Icelanders quite simply don't want to join the EU and never have. That the EU application is in fact a lame duck.

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Iceland's Foreign Minister in his own world

Foreign Minister Össur Skarphéðinsson said yesterday in an interview with Mbl.is, the website of the Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið, that he thought that support for his government's application to join the European Union had increased among Icelandic MPs. Ask what evidence he had for his claim he said he knew the parliament. Skarphéðinsson's Social Democratic Alliance is the senior partner in Iceland's current coalition government and the country's only pro-EU political party.

Today Mbl.is has asked leading people from the other political parties represented in the Icelandic parliament, Althingi, if their think support for EU membership has increased among their MPs. They all agree that they haven't sensed anything of that sort but on the contrary that there is a rising scepticism among them. This includes the chairman of the Left Greens, the junior coalition partner. It is safe to say that Skaphéðinsson's comments have amazed people in Iceland as no one recognises them to be true. Not even MPs in his own party find them in the position of being able to back up his comments.

Skarphéðinsson has been travelling to various EU countries this summer speaking with leading people about his government's EU application and has probably been giving them a wrong picture of the situation in Iceland including the claim that support has been increasing for EU membership among the country's MPs. The only plauseble reason why the Foreign Minister is putting forward this claim must be an attempt to calm Brussels over the little support joining the EU has in Iceland.

Aukinn stuðningur við aðild (Mbl.is July 23, 2010)
Afstaða VG til ESB óbreytt (Mbl.is July 24, 2010)
Skynjar ekki aukinn stuðning (Mbl.is July 24, 2010)
Össur að tala til Brussel (Mbl.is July 24, 2010)
Ummæli Össurar koma á óvart (Mbl.is July 24, 2010)


New poll: Continued 60 percent against EU membership

According to a new public opinion poll in Iceland produced by Capacent 60 percent oppose joining the European Union while only 26 percent are in favour. The rest is undecided. This is in line with repeated previous polls.

Taking only into the picture those in favour or opposed to EU membership about 70 percent of Icelanders are opposed to joining the bloc.

Viðhorf til Evrópusambandsaðildar Íslands (Capacent.is July 6, 2010)
Aðeins fjórðungur vill í ESB (Mbl.is July 1, 2010)
Mikil andstaða við aðild að ESB (Rúv.is July 1, 2010)