A parliamentary proposal which would have possibly withdrawn Iceland from accession talks with the European Union was defeated today.
As reported, Vigdís Hauksdóttir, an MP for the Progressive Party, put forward a proposal calling for a public referendum on whether Iceland should continue talks with the EU, or withdraw. The proposal had garnered some support with members of the ruling coalition as well. The Leftist-Greens – while in a coalition with the pro-EU Social Democrats – have traditionally been against joining the organisation. Leftist-Green MP Guðfríður Lilja Grétarsdóttir submitted a proposal to the Foreign Affairs Committee calling for a referendum, this year at the latest.
However, RÚV now reports that the proposal was defeated.
In the end, 34 of parliament’s 63 MPs voted against it, 25 were in favour, and 4 were not present. Magnús Orri Schram, a Social Democrat – a party that has long supported joining the EU – said that parliament should not be afraid of the judgment of the nation when it comes to the EU matter, which is why it would be important to put a finished agreement before the people; not a phase of the negotiations process. Others, among them Independence Party MP Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir and Leftist-Green Jón Bjarnason, argued that if an unfinished constitution can be put up for referendum, so, too, should this point in the accession process.
With the defeat of the proposal, it is unlikely that a repeat will occur, and Iceland’s accession talks with the EU will continue.