Few Icelanders Consider Joining The EU Important - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Few Icelanders Consider Joining The EU Important

Published January 3, 2011

While previous polls have shown that most Icelanders want to see their country continue accession talks with the European Union, a new survey conducted by news website Eyjan shows that very few Icelanders consider actually joining the EU to be important.
The Eyjan survey (.pdf file, in Icelandic) asked respondents what the most important task was that the government should focus on in 2011. The highest percentage – 45.1% – named job creation, followed by dealing with household debt, at 33.3%
In a very distant third – at 7.6% – was continuing accession talks with the EU. Interestingly enough, this is more than twice as many of those who felt putting an end to the Icesave matter was most important; only 3.5% of people responded thusly. Also, only 1.9% felt changing the constitution should be top priority, which possibly explains why recent elections which voted in a constitutional assembly saw a dismal voter turnout of about 34%.
When the demographics of those who believe talks with the EU should be top priority are broken down, distinct differences appear. 10.4% from the capital area named the EU talks as paramount, but only 2.7% from the countryside felt the same way.
There also appears to be a sharp gender difference – more men than women believe joining the EU is that important, 10.7% to 4.3%. The survey also indicates that the higher an income an Icelander has, and the more educated they are, the more likely they are to support accession into the EU.
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