Representatives of labour and management have sent a letter to government officials asking that European Union accession talks be completed, and that the matter be put up for public referendum.
Vísir reports that the Icelandic Confederation of Labour Unions (ASÍ), the Confederation of Icelandic Employers (SA) and the Iceland Chamber of Commerce (VÍ) signed a joint letter addressed to Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson and Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson, wherein they said that they “believe that accession talks with the European Union should be concluded, and that the best obtainable agreement should be submitted for public referendum.”
The letter adds that the government should examine what effects a prolonged pause in talks could have, and that it ought to be made clear whether or not these talks will even continue.
Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson told reporters that he wonders whether or not the opinions of these labour and management officials reflect the positions of the people they represent.
“It is to be expected that they would express a point of view on this matter that they have long held, although it is not exactly in keeping with the positions of their colleagues,” the Prime Minister said. “But the letter also states what kind of result they want to see, so one wonders whether they have any need to know the government’s position.”
Accession talks with the EU were paused by the previous government, in anticipation of parliamentary elections. The current government has continued the trend – as the Prime Minister recently told CNBC, “We’ve decided to take a break from those discussions.”