Changing Attitudes About the EU - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Changing Attitudes About the EU

Published September 28, 2010

There seems to be a change in opinion among Icelanders about joining the European Union, as a recent poll shows that most want to see accession talks concluded, rather than have Iceland withdraw altogether.
According to a poll conducted by the newspaper Fréttablaðið, 64.2% of those who responded said that they wanted to see accession talks finished so that the matter could be voted on in a national referendum. 35.8% want instead for Iceland to withdraw from joining.
Perhaps the most striking difference is support among the Leftist-Green Party – long the most anti-EU party in the nation – where 63.6% of those identifying themselves as Left-Green voters said they support the accession talks concluding, with only 36.4% supporting withdrawal. Among Social Democrats, who have championed joining the EU since their inception, 83.8% want talks to conclude as well.
Conservative voters appear to be more evenly split. Among those who call themselves Independence Party voters, 53.6% want to Iceland to withdraw from EU talks, while 46.4% want talks to continue. Progressives responded similarly, with 52.2% favoring withdrawal, and 47.8% supporting the talks reach their natural conclusion.
The numbers reflect a dramatic swing in Icelandic attitudes about the European Union. Not one year ago, two-thirds of Icelanders were against joining the EU altogether. While the new poll does not necessarily indicate that the respondents who favor the conclusion of the talks also favor Iceland joining, they at least show most Icelanders supporting the continuation of talks and bringing the matter home to be voted upon.

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