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MPs Propose Referendum on Iceland-EU Talks

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MPs Propose Referendum on Iceland-EU Talks

Seven MPs of the Left-Green Movement, Independence Party, Progressive Party and The Movement, have submitted a parliamentary resolution to Althingi, the Icelandic parliament, that a national referendum on whether Iceland’s membership talks with the European Union are to continue.

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Inside Althingi. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.

They suggest that the referendum take place on November 27, at the same time as the Constitutional Parliament, Morgunbladid reports.

The only problem is that according to legislation on national referendum approved by parliament in June this year, at least three months are supposed to pass between Althingi’s approval of a parliamentary resolution on a national referendum and when it takes place.

“I had forgotten about that legislation,” admitted Vigdís Hauksdóttir of the Progressive Party, who is the parliamentary resolution’s first presenter, to Fréttabladid. She said she will submit a bill at Althingi today on the amendment to the legislation passed in June so that a national referendum can be expedited.

A statement accompanying the parliamentary resolution says that the majority of MPs do not reflect the majority of the nation in its attitude towards EU membership.

The EU assumes that the parliament and the nation are unified in their position towards the EU, which is not the case in Iceland, the seven MPs argue.

Opinion polls show that the public opposes membership, only a narrow majority supports it in parliament and the government itself is split in its opinion, the statement continues.

If the majority of the nation supports continued membership talks with the EU, the government has a clear authority to carry on with talks but not until the nation has had its say, the statement concludes.

The seven MPs who submitted the resolution are, in addition to Hauksdóttir: Ásmundur Einar Dadason of the Left-Greens, Birgitta Jónsdóttir of The Movement, Halldóra Lóa Thorvaldsdóttir, substitute MP for the Left-Greens, Pétur H. Blöndal and Árni Johnsen of the Independence Party and Birgir Thórarinsson, substitute MP for the Progressive Party.

Click here to read about a recent survey about the EU and here to read about Eva Joly recommending membership for Iceland.

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