The Left-Green Movement reaffirms its opposition to EU membership

The Left-Green Movement reaffirmed its opposition to EU membership at its biannual national crongress on October 21-23.

The Left-Green Movement


The Independence Party remains utterly opposed to EU membership

The biannual national congress of the Independence Party was held this weekend. Davíð Oddsson, the now former chairman of the party, spoke very decisive against EU membership in his opening speech on Thursday. He has often spoken against EU membership through the years but seldom as decisive as now. Oddsson has now decided to leave Icelandic politics after being in the line of fire for three decades. Instead he will become president of the Icelandic Central Bank.

On Saturday the vice-chairman of the Independence Party, Geir Haarde, then expressed the same attitute towards EU membership as Oddsson in a speech at the national congress. Haarde was the only candidate as Oddsson's successor as chairman of the party. Among other things he said in his speech that no Icelandic interests demanded that Iceland joined the EU, but at the same time there were many great disadvantages to membership.

As presumed Haarde was elected as chairman of the party yesterday (October 16). He is the former Minister of Finance but succeded Oddsson as Foreign Minister on September 27. And also as presumed the policy of the Independence Party towards the EU, accepted by the national crogress without any protest or remarks, remains utterly opposed to EU membership. There was actually no chance at all that those results would have been otherwise. The eurosceptic policy of the Independence Party is widespread within the party and does not stand and fall with Oddsson although some people outside Iceland seem to think so. That is, however, definately in many cases more based on wishful thinking than anything else.

On the other hand it is understandable that those who are not familiar with the circumstances within the party have had tendency to characterise its policy towards the EU in Oddsson since he has as chairman of the party, Prime Minister of Iceland for a long time and then Foreign Minister for the last year, been the party's primary spokesman on foreign affairs. After all the Foreign Ministry was in the hands of the Independence Party's junior coalition partner, the Progressive Party, from 1995 until September last year when Oddsson became Foreign Minister.

For those who don't know the conservative/libertarian Independence Party is the biggest political party in Iceland and has been for more than 60 years. The party has been in government now for the last 14 years or since 1991. According to the latest poll by Gallup published in September 44% of Icelanders support the Independence Party.

Davíð Oddsson's speech
Geir Haarde's speech
The foreign policy accepted by the national congress


Every other joke!

Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, the chairman of the Socialdemocratic Alliance (the only political party in Iceland in favour of EU membership although it has never actually dared to put the issue on its agenda), suggested recently that Iceland should join the EU and adopt the euro because of the current high value of the Icelandic króna. The party hasn't mentioned this since in the beginning of the year 2003, just before the general elections that year, after a number of polls were published showing a vast majority of Icelanders opposed to EU membership.

Well, to say the least this is probably seen by most people in Iceland as every other joke! Beside the fact that Icelanders have no special interest in joining the EU according to polls, and especially not adopting the euro, they are also generally well informed about what is happening in the world and are therefore very well aware of how disastrous the economic and political situation is within the EU.

The pro-EU movement in Iceland hasn't even seen a reason to mention the chairman's suggestion on its website. And speaking of that website, it hasn't been updated for six weeks now which is a good example of the eclipse the pro-EU movement in Iceland has actually been suffering from for a long time.

And takling about an eclipse, the European Movement Iceland didn't even remember to celebrate its 10 years anniversary in May this year. How bad is that?? ;)

European Movement Iceland


Icelandic young conservatives strongly opposed to EU membership as before

During its biannual national congress September 30 - October 2 the National Youth Organisation of the Independence Party (Samband ungra sjálfstæðismanna) approved a strong policy against Icelandic EU membership as before. The policy was accepted unanimously and reads as following:

"The National Youth Organisation of the Independence Party reaffirms its former policy towards the European Union. There are no more reasons now than before for Iceland to join the EU. It can be argued strongly that it has seldom or never been as unwise to put EU membership on the agenda as now. The EU is at the moment probably going through the biggest political crisis the Union has ever faced after the French and the Dutch rejections of its proposed constitution. No one knows for sure what those crisis will lead to.

Persistent bad economic situation within the EU, especially in the eurozone, is not to make an EU membership more attractive. It is also obvious that the development within the EU is more and more towards increased integration, centralisation and regulation burden at the cost of among other things transparency and flexibility. It is also clear that Iceland would loose its authority over its waters in case of an EU membership and that no permanent exemptions are available regarding the fisheries.

Instead of joining the EU Iceland should trade on the possibilities it has by remaining outside the Union and nevertheless participate in cooperation between European nations on equal grounds. By remaining outside the EU Iceland has not been harmed in any way. Quite the contrary Iceland has over and over again been doing better than most EU memberstates in international researches on how well countries are doing and in some cases even all of them. Icelanders have every possibility to continue on that road on their own premises."

National Youth Organisation of the Independence Party