Iceland to Withdraw EU Application

Iceland to Withdraw EU ApplicationIceland to Withdraw EU Application

Iceland is planning to formally withdraw its EU application, the country’s prime minister told the national radio station. It also wants to lift capitals controls imposed on Iceland by Brussels after a financial crisis hit the country in 2008.

Despite expected public protests, Iceland is going to make a second attempt to withdraw its application to become a member state of the European Union, Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson said in an interview with Icelandic radio station Bylgjan, RT reported.

“Participating in EU talks isn’t really valid anymore,”  Gunnlaugsson said. “Both due to changes in the European Union and because it is not in line with the policies of the ruling government to accept everything that the last government was willing to accept.”

Iceland applied for EU membership in July 2009, at a time when the global economic crisis was unraveling. By February 2010, the European Commission produced a favorable answer and accession negotiations began in July the same year.

The negotiations came to a stalemate in April 2013, when the election in Iceland was won by the centrist Progress Party, and the conservative Independence Party. When Progress Party’s Gunnlaugsson became prime minister, he froze negotiations with the EU in May 2013, largely because of the fish catch quotas insisted on by Brussels – something Iceland’s fishing industry would never agree to.

The first attempt to disengage with Brussels in 2014 ended in public protests and calls to hold a national referendum on the issue. Nevertheless, an anti-EU membership resolution will shortly be presented to Iceland’s parliament.