Parliament ministers for the Social Democrats, the party leading Iceland’s coalition government and headed by Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir, plans to formally submit an application for Iceland's membership to the European Union in Brussels on July 27, at a meeting of the EU foreign ministers.
The EU Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
Three MPs for the opposition and one MP for the Left-Greens, the other coalition party, met yesterday to discuss an amendment to the government’s parliamentary resolution on EU membership, Morgunbladid reports.
The amendment stipulates that a double referendum should take place, on whether membership negotiations should be launched and, if approved, whether the agreement with the EU should be accepted.
According to Morgunbladid’s sources within the opposition, MPs discussed this option back and forth yesterday. Minister of Health Ögmundur Jónasson of the Left-Greens said he was not aware of any formal discussions on a double referendum.
When asked whether he was aware of any informal discussions on the matter, the minister replied, “If that is the case, those who are involved will have to answer that question,” adding, “I know that various members of the Left-Green parliamentary group have the opinion [that I double referendum should take place],” emphasizing that is down to each individual MP to decide.
Foreign Minister Össur Skarphédinsson of the Social Democrats told Morgunbladid that it is a known fact that there are individuals within the Left-Green Movement who have different opinions tp the Social Democrats on matters concerning the EU.
“However, it has been decided how the government’s manifesto deals with this matter and I don’t expect anything else than it to be honored,” Skarphédinsson added. “It would disappoint me if MPs of the coalition party participated in such a proposal [of a double referendum].”
According to Fréttabladid, it is highly likely that Althingi, the Icelandic parliament, will agree this weekend or early next week to apply for membership to the EU. The majority of MPs support immediate membership negotiations, the newspaper concluded.
All 20 MPs for the Social Democrats are in favor, three to four MPs for the Civic Movement, at least two members for the Progressive Party and probably eight or nine MPs for the Left-Greens.
That equals 33 to 35 votes in favor of launching EU membership negotiations. Thirty-two out of 63 are sufficient to secure a majority.
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