From Iceland — Coalition Deal By This Weekend

Coalition Deal By This Weekend

Published May 4, 2009

Coalition talks between the Social Democrats and the Leftist-Greens
have crossed a major hurdle, with both parties expecting an agreement
reached by this coming weekend.
While sources speaking to Morgunblaðið would not disclose any exact details of yesterday’s meeting between Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and Leftist-Green chairman Steingrímur J. Sigfússon and their respective assistants, it was reported that the two parties went over the broadstrokes, as well as organized workgroups in some exact areas of focus. Both sides are confident that they are in the final stretch of an agreement, which they expect to reach by this coming weekend.
The most contentious issue between the two parties has been the question of whether or not Iceland should apply for European Union memebership. Leftist-Greens have been proposing one or two national referendums
(depending on who in the party you talk to) where the people would say
whether or not Iceland should apply for EU membership. The Social
Democrats support more the idea of a single referendum, and also claim
that their result from last Saturday’s elections, wherein they became
the largest party in the country, as well as the fact that the majority
of parliament is pro-EU, is a sign that most Icelanders want to join
the EU.
The Leftist-Greens believe that Iceland’s economy would be best served
outside the EU, while the Social Democrats believe the adoption of the
euro and joining the EU would be the surest way to stabilize the
economy. Many Icelanders worry they will lose control of their fishing
waters or face rising unemployment if they join, even though some
political thinkers believe it would be possible to negotiate with the
EU on the fishing waters question.

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