Minister says EU application must be reconsidered

The application to join the European Union must be reconsidered in light of a changed situation. This Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, Iceland's Minister for Industries and Innovation and chairman of the Left Green Movement, said in a New Year's greeting to his fellow party members on January 2.

Sigfússon said it was now „inevitable“ to reconsider the accession talks with the EU claiming the situation had changed as it was now obvious the talks would not be finished before the general elections scheduled in April this year. Furthermore he said the task over the next weeks was to decide how and when the Icelandic people would be asked for a guidence on how to address the matter.

By that Sigfússon was referring to a referendum asking the people if they want to continue with the EU application or put it aside. Support for such a referendum has been growing in Iceland among the political class and a recent opinion poll showed large majority for scrapping the application. There is also a large majority against EU membership and has been in every poll published in Iceland since August 2009.

Sigfússon's party is in government with the Social Democratic Alliance which favours EU membership while his own party, the Left Green Movement, is opposed to membership according to its policy. The leadership of the Left Greens, however, decided to allow the EU application in 2009 in order to form a government with the social democrats.

Since allowing the EU application the Left Green Movement has lost more than half its votes according to polls and three of the 14 MPs they got elected in the last general elections. The reason is primarily considered to be the party's decision to allow the application in 2009 and support it ever since.

Óumflýjanlegt að endurmeta stöðuna (Mbl.is January 3, 2013)

See also:
Want the EU application on ice
Wants to slow down the EU accession
Majority wants to scrap the EU application

Majority against EU membership for three years
Iceland's business leaders reject EU membership
Iceland's industry turns against EU membership
67 percent would reject EU membership