Iceland has gained a reputation for being a small country with big balls. They were the only country to refuse to bail out its bank during the banking crisis of 2008 . Now Iceland’s conservative Independence Party is supporting a Parliament resolution to withdraw Iceland’s application to join the European Union. Iceland is effectively waving goodbye to Europe.
Bjarni Benediktsson, Iceland’s Minister of Finance, confirmed in an interview:
The EU accession talks were put on hold after the general elections in April 2013. The elections resulted in the Independence Party and the centrist Progress Party forming a coalition government backed by 38 MPs out of 63 in total. Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson said earlier this month that he expected a resolution withdrawing the EU application to be put to the parliament soon and Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, who as Gunnlaugsson belongs to the Progress Party, has said it would be senseless not to withdraw the application. If anything Sveinsson has said there are more arguments for doing so now than a year ago.
The government put such a resolution to the parliament last year but the matter was not concluded before summer recess. Mainly because of a filibusted which was staged by the opposition calling for a referendum on the issue. As a consequence the government decided to postpone the matter as it considered more pressing to get other issues accepted. Primarily laws paving the way for a government program to reduce household debts.
“This is a resolution which we supported last year,” Benediktsson said adding that nothing had changed since then. Asked if that meant the conservatives would support a resolution to withdraw the EU application he replied: “Yes, we would do that just like we did last time.”
Iceland’s economy continues to grow in strength. In 2013 growth was at over 5% – unheard of anywhere else in Europe.
Will other European countries sit up and take note? Comment below to let us know what you think.