The story appears on

Page A9

July 17, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

Iceland's parliament votes to join European Union

ICELAND'S parliament voted by a narrow margin yesterday to apply for membership in the European Union, moving to relinquish some of the recession-hit country's cherished independence in the name of stability.

Members of Iceland's parliament, the Althingi, voted 33-28 to start membership talks with the EU. Two lawmakers abstained.

Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir wants to submit a membership application to the EU by the end of the month.

A final decision to join the 27-nation bloc would need approval by Icelanders in a referendum.

Iceland's Viking spirit took a battering last year when the country's banking sector and currency collapsed and the volcanic island became an early casualty of the global economic crisis.

The disaster forced Icelanders to consider seeking the shelter, and restrictions, of membership in the EU and possibly the euro currency. Sigurdardottir has said EU membership would provide a more stable exchange rate and lower interest rates.

But many in this tiny, independent-minded nation, whose 320,000 people are mostly descended from Viking settlers, remain opposed, including some in government coalition member the Left Green Movement.

Iceland is already part of the European Economic Area, a trading block that gives Icelanders the right to live and work in the EU while allowing the country to run its own agricultural, fishing and monetary policies.

EU membership would hit Iceland's fishing industry, one of the few sectors to have survived the financial crash and a symbol of national pride.

If Iceland joined the EU it would likely have to sign up to its common fisheries policy and allow other European fishermen access to its waters.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend