From Iceland — European Union Proposal Submitted

European Union Proposal Submitted

Published May 26, 2009

The European Union proposal drafted by the ruling coalition was
submitted to parliament yesterday to a decidedly mixed reception.
Despite statements to the contrary, the wording of the proposal is almost exactly the same as the draft that was posted on the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s website. It calls for the EU question to be put to a vote in parliament and, if
passed, for a national referendum to be conducted. As mentioned
previously, the proposal makes numerous provisos, especially with regards to sovereignty of fishing waters, sustainable living, and labor
The Social Democrats were naturally pleased with the proposal, as it’s been a long-standing platform of theirs that most of Iceland’s problems can be solved by joining the EU. Conservatives, by contrast, vowed to vote down the proposal outright. Árni Þór Sigurðsson, an MP for the Leftist-Greens, said that he expects his party to vote “in different ways”, adding “There are differences of opinion on this matter within our party”, which is decidedly true – the official Leftist-Green platform is that Iceland would be better off outside the EU, but that they want the matter put to a national referendum. The Progressives were colorful in their opposition, with MP Eygló Harðardóttir calling EU membership “the Social Democrats’ wet dream”.
If the proposal is passed as is, the EU question will be put to a parliamentary vote before going to national referendum. As it is, the majority of parliament favors applying for EU membership, but Icelanders are almost evenly split on the matter.

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