Polls Reafirm Iceland’s Long-Standing Opposition Towards Joining The EU

Courtesy of AFP

A new opinion poll carried out by Gallup/Iceland published this Monday goes to confirm that a majority of the Icelandic population does not want Iceland to join the European Union. According to the poll, 59.8% of Icelanders reject becoming part of the EU while 40.2% asked and answered would like to see that happen. Membership of the bloc has been opposed in every opinion poll published in Iceland since July 2009 or for more than eight years. Furthermore the majority of Icelanders reject fresh accession talks with the EU as well as adopting the euro in exchange of the Icleandic króna, the national currency. The króna has long been under criticism because of of its mood swings as well as intermittent soaring value against other currencies.

The opinion poll was produced for Já Ísland, an Icelandic organisation in favour of membership of the EU, and supporters of Iceland becoming part of the EU have often claimed that applying for EU membership is possible if but only to see what Brussels has to offer without any commitment to actually join the bloc. Consequently opinion polls asking people about accession talks have often until rather recently delivered more positive results for their cause than polls asking directly about membership. Any such possibilities of what amounts to window-shopping have been categrically  ruled out by the European Union.

Fresh EU accession talks are thus rejected by 55.5% of Icelanders while 44.5% are in favour. When it comes to unilaterally adopting the euro, which is not possible anyway in the absence of EU membership as Brussels has repeatedly confirmed over the years, yet frequently suggested in the Icelandic debate as a possibility without EU membership, 52.3% reject that step while 47.3% are in favour. The then centre-left government of Iceland applied to join the EU in July 2009 following the economic crisis that hit the country in the autumn before. The accession talks were, however, put on hold after the 2013 general elections by the new centre-right government which then announced to Brussels in 2015 that Iceland was no longer a candidate for EU membership.

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