An article in today’s Guardian
claims that EU officials in Brussels are preparing to fast-track
Iceland into the EU, as early as 2011, depending on the outcome of an
election this spring.
While the Guardian contends elections are expected to be held 9 May, no definitive date for elections has been made (UPDATE: Elections will be held 25 April). The article also cites “riots” in Iceland – news which would come as a surprise to anyone living here. In addition, while the article contends that there are “rising expectations” that Iceland will apply for membership, this is contrary to the latest opinion poll on the subject which shows nearly 60% of the country against joining the EU – a figure that has been rising since last October. A referendum on joining the EU is expected some time after elections this spring. If public sentiment against joining the EU continues its current trajectory or even just stays the same, application for membership will be unlikely.
Olli Rehn, the European commissioner in charge of enlargement, is quoted in the Guardian as saying:
“The EU prefers two countries joining at the same time rather than
individually. If Iceland applies shortly and the negotiations are
rapid, Croatia and Iceland could join the EU in parallel. On Iceland, I
hope I will be busier. It is one of the oldest democracies in the world
and its strategic and economic positions would be an asset to the EU.”