Friday, July 17, 2009

Wil Iceland be the 28th member-state of the EU?

The parliament of Iceland, the Althing, voted on Thursday the 16th of July, with majority in favour of Iceland becoming a member of the EU. This means that an Icelandic application for membership will be sent to Brussels within days.

A majority of the 320.000 inhabititants of Iceland also seem to be in favour of an EU-membership. This will be an important factor to the enlargement of the EU, because membership can only be confirmed through a positive vote of the Icelandic people at a referendum. Iceland's membership will clearly be beneficial to its economic stability, which was severely hurt during the latest economic crisis. On the other hand the Icelandic people fear the Europeans' interference with its fishing-policies. The Minister of Finance put it out clearly: 'the Icelandic people want the Euro, but not the European Union'. If Iceland really wants to become a member, it will have to raise the bar, many European politicians have already stated. Being a reliable and like-minded member of NATO is not enough. Committing itself to all EU-regulations will be essential, like it has been to al candidate-memberstates.

Nevertheless the enthusiasm in Brussels is great after the positive vote in the Icelandic parliament. It looks like Iceland will catch up with Croatia in the enlargement-process. The EU better manage the expectations well, especially in relationship with Croatia!

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