Most Icelanders Unhappy With Foreign Minister's Handling Of EU - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Most Icelanders Unhappy With Foreign Minister’s Handling Of EU

Published March 20, 2015

Main photo by
Gunnar Bragi's Facebook

Nearly two-thirds of Icelanders polled say they are unsatisfied with Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson’s dealings with the European Union.

A poll conducted by Fréttablaðið asked respondents “How pleased are you with the Foreign Minister in EU affairs over the past few days?” As reported, last week Gunnar Bragi announced he had sent a letter to EU officials declaring Iceland’s accession process over, but had neglected to put the matter before parliament.

Of those who responded, 44% said they were very displeased; 19% said they were rather displeased; 9% said they were rather pleased; 15% said they were very pleased; and 13% had no opinion. In all, 63% disapprove of the Foreign Minister’s conduct, while only 24% support it.

Former chairperson of the Independence Party Þorsteinn Pálsson told reporters he felt the results showed “a very natural reaction to the work conduct which was exercised. People reap what they sow.”

Days after the Foreign Minister made his announcement, thousands gathered in front of parliament in protest, demanding to be allowed to vote on the accession matter as both parties in the ruling coalition had promised during election season. A spokesperson for the EU also responded by saying that simply sending a letter will not end the accession process.

“We have been saying for the last two years that obviously it’s the prerogative of Iceland to decide – in a free and sovereign decision – how they want to pursue their relationship with the European Union,” Spokesperson for EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Maja Kocijančič told reporters. “But in our view, the letter in itself does not amount to the withdrawal of the membership application.”

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