Icelanders Are Selfish - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelanders Are Selfish

Published May 12, 2009

An opinion piece in the German version of the Financial Times contends
that Iceland only wants to join the EU to protect its own interests;
not to help out the European continent.
The article says that Iceland’s seemingly growing desire to join the EU should make member states uncomfortable. Although Iceland is very unlike other European nations, which would add a certain flavor to the EU character, Iceland actually wants to join the EU for “very selfish reasons. Icelanders want to enjoy the EU’s protection and take up the euro – they don’t think the EU threatens their sovereignty but rather increases their stability.”
The author bemoans what he sees as the fact that nations want to join the EU not to build up the continent, but to increase their own economic prosperity.
The main arguments from the pro-EU contingency in Iceland have, indeed, been that the euro is a more stable currency than the crown and that the economy would benefit from membership, while opponents fear losing their sovereignty over their fishing waters. But if we take the author’s definition of “selfish” at face value, the very establishment of the EU itself was done for not entirely selfless reasons – each founding member state naturally saw economic and political advantages to their own separate nations as well as “the continent,” and it’s doubtful the EU would have ever been established if personal benefit was outweighed by personal sacrifice. Also, Iceland, as a NATO member, has actually given much more than it ever needed to. The country’s ability to contribute is a matter of public record.
Keep in mind that the content of the FT piece is all according to RÚV. We couldn’t find the story on the Financial Times’ German or English sites. Then again, we don’t speak German and were browsing through the site painfully slowly using Google Translate applications, and we don’t really see why RÚV would make something like this up.
UPDATE 14 May: A very helpful German reader of ours found the article in question.


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