An increasing number of Icelanders are viewing joining the European Union in a favourable light, although most still believe accession will not improve things for the country, a new poll shows.
The survey, conducted by Eurobarometer, shows that 38% of Icelanders believe joining the EU will help the economy in Iceland, while 48% believe it will not. By comparison, the previous survey – taken in May 2010 – 29% viewed joining the EU positively, while 58% viewed joining unfavourably.
In a more general sense, 28% of Icelanders believe joining the EU will improve daily life in the country, while 34% believe it will make things worse. In the previous survey, these figures were 19% versus 45%.
The largest degree of positivity, however, can be seen with regards to taking up the euro as Iceland’s currency. 66% of Icelanders view the switch favourably, while 28% are against it. In May, 51% supported taking up the euro while 41% were against it.
While Iceland is in accession talks with the EU, there are still a number of issues which need ironing out before more Icelanders will view joining favourably. In particular, many Icelanders are concerned with sovereignty over their fishing waters, as well as what impact joining will have on the country’s agricultural sector.