Sigrún Davíðsdóttir's Icelog

Iceland is no longer accession country – protests tonight

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“… the Icelandic Government wishes to clarify further its intentions. The Government of Iceland has no intentions to resume accession talks. Furthermore, any commitments made by the previous Government in the accession talks are superseded by the present policy.

This is part of a letter, which the minister for foreign affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson handed over today as he met with Edgars Rinkevics, who currently holds the Presidency of the European Union. According to the letter the Government of Iceland decided at its meeting last Tuesday that Iceland is no longer is a candidate country to EU membership and asks the EU to act accordingly. However, Sveinsson emphasized the importance of relations and cooperation between Iceland and the EU and Iceland’s commitment to the EEA Agreement.

Tonight, there will be protests by Alþing, the Parliament, to be continued over the weekend. Opposition MPs claim that even with its strong majority the Government did not dare to pass this through Alþing. One MP, Birgitta Jónsdóttir from the Pirate Party, says this will be the beginning of the end for the Government. Regardless of what opinion people hold on the EU the fact that the Government took this decision without conferring with Alþing shows that this Government is ready to bypass the parliamentary process.

Árni Páll Árnason, leader of the social democrats, pro-EU party, says this decision, taken without any consultation and behind closed doors shows the Government’s insecurity and fear of the people. By choosing this method the Government is trying to bypass democratic rules. In spite of the letter Alþingi’s mandate to negotiate accession still stands. “This only shows that the Government does not have a grip on its task.”

The Government tried last winter to end the EU negotiations but incurred great protests, which put an end to its effort. Opinion polls show that although there is not majority for Icelandic EU membership clear majority of Icelanders want the negotiations to be brought to an end, followed by a membership referendum.

 

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Written by Sigrún Davídsdóttir

March 12th, 2015 at 7:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorised

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