Iceland government considers EU membership bid

Bjarni Benediktsson © Johann

11/01/17Government

Iceland’s new coalition government has said it plans to put the question of joining the EU back on the political agenda by offering a parliamentary vote on it.

The three parties in the coalition said that MPs would vote on whether to hold a referendum on EU membership.

Iceland began EU accession talks in 2010, while the country was still dealing with the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash.

The talks were later shelved.

The government is led by Bjarni Benediktsson, who heads the conservative Independence Party.

The prime minister’s coalition partners are the Reform and Bright Future parties.

The coalition deal followed weeks of political uncertainty after the 29 October general election.

Iceland is already deeply integrated with the EU – it is a member of the Schengen zone and is in the single market, though its agriculture and fisheries are excluded.

Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein are in both the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Economic Area (EEA).

Iceland’s status means it could quickly fulfil the requirements of EU membership.

It is not yet clear when Icelandic MPs will reactivate the EU membership debate.

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