Iceland will officially submit an application to join the European Union, as decided by a vote held among members of the Althingi earlier today. The vote resulted in 33 MP’s in favour and 28 opposed to applying for EU membership, with two MP’s absent from voting. Leading up to today’s vote it had been reported that MP’s from all parties seemed divided on this important issue and, indeed, the results of the vote illustrate that division, with some party’s MP’s voting almost half-and-half for and against courting the EU.
In a press release distributed by Iceland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Minister Skarphedinsson noted “this is a historic day for Iceland.” He further stated that applying for inclusion in the EU is the “next logical step” for Iceland on account of the country already being a member of EFTA and the EEA.
Iceland’s application will be officially submitted in Brussels on July 27th when the European Union Foreign Ministers convene. Membership negotiations are expected to take approximately two years.