From Iceland — Withdrawal From EU Talks Could Be Put to Referendum

Withdrawal From EU Talks Could Be Put to Referendum

Published October 22, 2010

A bill submitted to parliament yesterday, if passed, could put the question of whether or not to continue accession talks with the European Union up for national referendum.
Seven members of parliament from every party except the Social Democrats have proposed that such a referendum occur alongside elections to the constitutional parliament this 27 November. However, the time frame is allowed a certain amount of flexibility.
The MPs who delivered the bill criticized parliament for not taking the matter up sooner. Progressive MP Vigdís Hauksdóttir said that the government has been at a stand-still, and needs to act on a number of issues, least of all the EU question.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson reminded the speakers that a parliamentary majority voted to commence accession talks with the European Union. He added that he has nothing against the bill being added to the schedule in parliament, as he doesn’t feel there’s majority support for the bill itself.
Public opinion with regards to the European Union has swung more towards the Favor column in recent days, especially as public figures such as Eva Joly have reminded Icelanders that they are bound to the EU’s laws but don’t have any influence on changing them, and other academic figures pointing out that by EU law, Iceland’s resources, language and culture would be fully protected.

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