From Iceland — Foreign Minister Will Not Withdraw EU Proposal

Foreign Minister Will Not Withdraw EU Proposal

Published May 2, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson told reporters that he has no intention of withdrawing his proposal to end EU accession talks altogether, and believes the matter could be voted on this spring – despite the misgivings of the Foreign Affairs committee chairperson.

RÚV reports that Gunnar Bragi remains optimistic about the ultimate fate of his proposal, telling reporters of the proposal, “If the willingness is there, it is possible to finish [a parliamentary vote on it],” but expressed concern that parliamentary opposition would fight it. At the same time, he said he was “open to all ideas”, provided they resulted in Iceland not applying for accession into the European Union.

As reported, Foreign Affairs Committee chairperson Birgir Ármannsson told reporters that over 200 addendums have been submitted for the proposal, and that with the committee work still left to do before the proposal can even be discussed again in parliament, “I consider it unlikely that the processing of this matter will be completed this spring.”

Both parties of the current ruling coalition, the Progressives and the Independence Party, promised that a referendum would be held on whether or not to continue accession talks.

The breaking of this promise, with the Foreign Ministry’s proposal to just end talks altogether, has prompted regular protests, and a petition calling for a referendum on the matter that has gathered over 53,000 signatures at the time of this writing, or just over 21% of Iceland’s registered voters.

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