MP Submits Proposal Calling For Referendum On Iceland's NATO Membership - The Reykjavik Grapevine

MP Submits Proposal Calling For Referendum On Iceland’s NATO Membership

Published April 1, 2019

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
USAF Staff Sgt. Samuel Rogers/Wikimedia Commons

Last Saturday, Iceland commemorated the 70th anniversary of officially joining NATO. In honour of the occasion, Left-Green MP Andrés Ingi Jónsson has submitted a proposal, co-signed by several other members of the party, calling for a national referendum on withdrawing from NATO altogether.

The referendum itself would be comprised of a single yes-or-no question: “Do you want Iceland to leave NATO?” Explaining his reasoning in a Facebook post, Andrés points out that NATO membership has made Iceland complicit in numerous wars, even on occasions when the majority of Icelanders were against them. He also contends that only 17% of Icelanders believe that NATO makes Iceland safer.

While Iceland has no military of its own, it does regularly allow other NATO countries to conduct exercises here. This very often prompts anti-militarist sentiment amongst the general populace.

The decision to join NATO was highly controversial at the time, and culminated in a riot in Reykjavík where police deployed clubs and tear gas.

This moment in Icelandic history is iconic; so much as that artist Þrándur Þórarinsson memorialised the moment in a painting.

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