Iceland is heavily integrated into the European Union via the Agreement on the European Economic Area and the Schengen Agreement, despite its status as a non-EU member state. Iceland applied for membership in 2009 but the application was controversial and the Icelandic government later froze the application.
|Area||4,324,782 km2 (1,669,808 sq mi)||102,775 km2 (39,682 sq mi)|
|Population Density||115/km2 (300/sq mi)||3.5/km2 (9.1/sq mi)|
|Capital||Brussels (de facto)||Reykjavík|
|Global cities||Paris, Amsterdam, Milan, Frankfurt, Madrid, Brussels, Warsaw, Stockholm, Vienna, Dublin, Luxembourg, Munich, Lisbon, Prague||None|
|Government||Supranational parliamentary democracy based on the European treaties||Unitary parliamentary republic|
|First Leader||High Authority President Jean Monnet||President Sveinn Björnsson|
|Current Leader||Council President Charles Michel
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
|President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson|
Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir
|Official languages||24 official languages, of which 3 considered "procedural" (English, French and German)||Icelandic|
|Main Religions||72% Christianity (48% Roman Catholicism, 12% Protestantism,
8% Eastern Orthodoxy, 4% Other Christianity),
23% non-Religious, 3% Other, 2% Islam
|63.47% Church of Iceland, |
2.75% Free Lutheran Church in Reykjavík,
1.98% Free Lutheran Church in Hafnarfjörður,
0.89% Independent Lutheran Congregation,
4.02% Catholic Church,
2.05% Other Christian denominations,
14.30% Other and unspecified,
|Ethnic groups||Germans (ca. 83 million), French (ca. 67 million),
Italians (ca. 60 million), Spanish (ca. 47 million), Poles (ca. 46 million),
Romanians (ca. 16 million), Dutch (ca. 13 million), Greeks (ca. 11 million),
Portuguese (ca. 11 million), and others
|89% Icelandic, 5% Polish, 1% Lithuanians, 5% others|
|GDP (nominal)||$16.477 trillion, $31,801 per capita||$27 billion, $75,700 per capita|
Iceland is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), a grouping of four non-EU European countries, and is also part of the European Economic Area (EEA). Through the EEA, Iceland participates with a non-voting status in certain EU agencies and programmes, including enterprise, environment, education (including the Erasmus Programme) and research programs. Iceland also contributes funds to "social and economic cohesion" in the EU/EEA. Iceland also frequently consults the EU on foreign affairs and frequently aligns itself to EU foreign policy. Iceland also participates in EU civilian peacekeeping missions.
Iceland is a member of the Nordic Passport Union and the Schengen Area, which now is under EU law, as a non-voting participant. Iceland's participation in the Schengen Area allows free movement of people between Iceland and the rest of the Schengen Area. Several thousand Icelanders travel to and study or work in the EU. A large majority of foreigners in Iceland come from the EU. Iceland is also associated with the Dublin Convention on justice and home affairs cooperation. Iceland also has links to several EU member states through its membership of the Nordic Council.
During the 2008-2011 Icelandic financial crisis, instability in the Icelandic króna led to discussion in Iceland about adopting the euro. However, Jürgen Stark, a Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, has stated that "Iceland would not be able to adopt the EU currency without first becoming a member of the EU". As of the ECB's May 2012 convergence report, Iceland did not meet any of the convergence criteria. One year later, the country managed to comply with the deficit criteria and had begun to decrease its debt-to-GDP ratio, but still suffered from elevated HICP inflation and long-term governmental interest rates.
Academics have proposed several explanations for why Iceland has not joined the European Union:
Economic relations between Iceland and the European Union are primarily governed by two agreements: a bilateral free trade agreement signed in 1972, and the agreement on the EEA in 1994. The EEA was established to give Iceland, among other European countries outside the EU, access to the EU market. Iceland's access to the EU market in respect of agriculture and fisheries is dealt with by separate bilateral agreements. Iceland is legally bound to implement into its own law all EU directives applicable to the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital. This is complemented by regular meetings between EU and Icelandic officials, including a twice-yearly meeting of EEA foreign ministers.
|Direction of trade||Goods (2016)||Services (2016)||Investment (2016)|
|EU to Iceland||EUR2.9 billion||EUR1.4 billion||EUR8.5 billion|
|Iceland to EU||EUR3.6 billion||EUR1.2 billion||EUR-0.8 billion|
78% of Iceland's exports went to the EU and 52% of Iceland's imports came from it, making the EU Iceland's most important trading partner, followed by Norway. Traditionally, Iceland's economy has focused on fisheries and renewable energy, but it has been diversifying into aluminium production, pharmaceuticals, information technologies, tourism and the financial sector. Iceland is still a large exporter of fish (the third largest exporter to the EU after Norway and China) with a world trade surplus of EUR1.1 billion in 2008. In fisheries, the EU had a 2009 trade deficit of EUR879 million. Until Iceland's 2009 financial crisis, its commercial services sector had been growing rapidly, accounting for almost 35% of total exports (goods and services combined).
|Icelandic EU accession bid|
Iceland applied to join the European Union on 16 July 2009 and formal negotiations began on 27 July 2010. However, on 13 September 2013 the Government of Iceland dissolved its accession team and suspended its application to join the EU. On 12 March 2015, Foreign Minister of Iceland Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson stated that he had sent a letter to the EU withdrawing the application for membership, without the approval of the Althing, though the European Union stated that Iceland had not formally withdrawn the application.
If negotiations were to resume, Iceland would face controversial issues on fisheries which could potentially derail an agreement, despite already being a member of the European Economic Area (which excludes fishery). If an agreement were to be concluded, the accession treaty would be subject to a national referendum in Iceland and require ratification by every EU state.
From 1995 to 2007 the government coalition of the conservative Independence Party (Sjálfstæðisflokkurinn) and the liberal Progressive Party (Framsóknarflokkurinn), opposed joining the EU, while the opposition Social Democratic Alliance (Samfylkingin) supported membership negotiations. In 1994, the Social Democratic Party (Alþýðuflokkurinn) became the first Icelandic political party to include the intention to apply to join the EU in its policy statement. Despite this hostility towards EU membership, the Independence Party was forced to accept some of the constraints associated with participation in the European project. Iceland sought shelter provided by the EEA, EFTA and Schengen because non-membership of the EEA and EFTA would have threatened its key economic interests, and non-membership of Schengen would have imposed burdens on Icelandic individuals.
Former Prime Minister Halldór Ásgrímsson predicted on 8 February 2006 that the country would join the EU by 2015. He added that the decisive factor would be the future and the size of the Eurozone, especially whether Denmark, Sweden and the UK would have adopted the euro or not. His prediction received some criticism, not the least from people within his own government.
Another former Prime Minister, Geir H. Haarde, has on a number of occasions stated his opposition to EU membership, both as Foreign Minister under Halldór Ásgrímsson and after taking office as Prime Minister. In response to Halldór Ásgrímsson's earlier prediction, Haarde said, "I don't share that point of view. Our policy is not to join in the foreseeable future. We are not even exploring membership." In a speech at a conference at the University of Iceland on 31 March 2006, Geir Haarde repeated what he had said on a number of occasions--that no special Icelandic interests demanded membership of the EU. In the same speech he further explained in detail why it would not be in the interest of Iceland to adopt the euro.
Following the 2007 election, the Independence Party and the Social Democratic Alliance formed a new coalition with a policy of not applying for membership, but setting up a special committee to monitor the development within the EU and suggest ways to respond to that.
Due to Iceland's limited currency,[clarification needed] the government has explored the possibility of adopting the euro without joining the European Union. The EU, however, says that Iceland cannot join the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) without becoming a full EU member state (all other non-EU states that use the euro do so because they previously used a member state currency that was replaced by the euro).
At a meeting of members of his party on 17 May 2008, Geir Haarde said that in his opinion the cost of joining the EU outweighed the benefits, and therefore he was not in favour of membership. However, in October 2008, during talks to repatriate a portion of Iceland's foreign invested pension funds--Iceland having been particularly hard hit by the financial crisis of September 2008--the unions demanded that Iceland apply for EU membership in return for wage restraint.
On 30 October 2008, Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir, minister of education, said that "Iceland has to define its long-term national interests and part of that is a revision of the currency regime, including a possible EU application" and that an application for membership needed to be discussed "in weeks rather than months".
Two weeks later, on 17 November 2008, the Independence Party announced it would hold its party congress in January 2009 instead of Autumn 2009, to reconsider the possibility of applying for EU membership; the Progressive Party also announced it would hold its party congress in January, after two anti-EU MPs (including the party leader) resigned and were replaced by MPs more positive towards EU application.
The Progressive Party accepted at its congress to support application for EU membership but with very strict conditions including one demanding full authority for Iceland over its fishing grounds and other national resources. When the government headed by the Independence Party was dissolved in January the party decided to postpone its congress until March. The congress eventually decided on an unchanged opposition to EU membership but also claimed that if the issue were opened by others both an application and an initial accession treaty with the EU should be put to a referendum.
The US denied Iceland's financial request for financial support after the 2008 economic crash. Iceland turned to the EU for assistance, but they also turned Iceland's request for aid down. This seriously damaged the efforts of the Europhiles in Iceland to sell the EU as a shelter provider to Iceland. The Europhiles mainly focused on the potential economic benefits of EU membership and the adoption of the euro, emphasizing the benefits of cheaper goods for consumers and enterprises, and access to aid from the EU structural funds for rural areas, agriculture and the tourism industry. There was, however, no mention of the EU as a soft security shelter provider. After a speedy economic recovery and considerable domestic opposition to membership, the application was put on hold in 2013. At present, the Icelandic government does not regard the country as a candidate to join the EU, though it has not withdrawn its membership application. Iceland's membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Schengen provide Iceland with partial political, economic and societal shelter but it is secondary to formal membership of the EU. Iceland's membership of the EU is unlikely to materialize in the present domestic and European environment. A dramatic change is needed to alter Iceland's present European policy. Domestic features of each and every state need to be taken into consideration in order to fully understand its calculations of cost and benefits of a potential shelter relationship.
Iceland's finance minister, Steingrimur Sigfusson, ahead of the country's first elections since the financial crisis, stated that "any decision for Iceland to join the European Union and the single currency must be taken by its people, not one political party", on the subject that the issue of EU membership was the greatest threat to a stable coalition.
The 2009 election, which followed the financial crisis, saw the Progressive Party switch to supporting EU membership but the Independence Party called for a referendum prior to the start of negotiations. The Social Democratic Alliance made joining the EU a key issue in their campaign.
After the win of the pro-EU Social Democratic Alliance in the election, Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir spoke of an immediate application to the European Union and adoption of the euro within four years as a way to deal with the country's debt.
In late April 2009, it was announced that the United Kingdom, which at the time was a member state of the European Union with whom Iceland has had a long history of fishing and territorial water disputes, supported Iceland joining the EU.
In early May 2009, it was leaked that the issue of application for EU membership would likely be left to the parliament, in which the Alliance, the Progressive Party and the Citizens' Movement together already had enough seats to approve the application. Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, the leader of the Progressive Party, strongly objected to the suggestion that his party would assist the government in this matter, however. The anti-EU Left-Green coalition partner accepted that in spring 2010, the minister for foreign affairs would present to the parliament a bill on talks with the EU.
On 10 May 2009, Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir announced that the government intended to move towards membership more quickly than previously expected. She announced that a bill would be introduced in parliament on 15 May 2009, authorising the opening of accession talks with the EU. She also stated that she was confident that the legislation would pass, and that she had secured a parliamentary majority on the issue, despite the official opposition to talks by one of her coalition partners. She went on to say that she expected an official application to be submitted no later than July 2009. This seemed to leave Iceland on course to join the EU along with Croatia in 2011, as predicted by EU Enlargement Commissioner, Olli Rehn. The government has stated that the issue will be put to a vote once an accession agreement has been negotiated.
The motion to file an application for membership was officially introduced in parliament on 25 May 2009. Voting was to have been held on 13 July, but was postponed until 16 July. First, a proposal by the Independence Party to hold a referendum on the membership application was defeated by 32 to 30 with one abstention. Then the Social Democratic Alliance's proposal to apply for membership immediately was approved with a narrow majority of 33 to 28 votes with 2 abstentions.
To become a member, a country must first apply and then be recognised as a candidate country. For that to happen the country must satisfy the first of the Copenhagen criteria: it must be a politically stable democracy that respects human rights. Then negotiations will take place which will consider the country's fulfilment of economic criteria, the country's degree of adoption of EU legislation, and whether there shall be any exceptions.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn has claimed that negotiations on an accession treaty would take less than a year, because Iceland has already adopted two-thirds of EU legislation in relation to the EEA. He has on other occasions claimed that the negotiations could take up to four years.
On 30 January 2009 Rehn commented that Iceland could enter the European Union promptly in 2011, at the same time as Croatia, saying that Iceland is an old democracy but also that it should not get special treatment. Fishing quotas and Icelandic whaling may be the toughest issues in any such negotiations.
On 16 July 2009 the Althing voted in favour of accession talks with the EU (with 33 votes in favour, 28 against, and 2 abstentions). The head of the parliamentary committee on EU affairs, Árni Þór Sigurðsson, has stated that Iceland will not be ready to join the EU any earlier than 2013. However the government stated that it planned to complete negotiations by the end of 2010.
On 17 July 2009 the application for Icelandic membership of the EU was handed to the government of Sweden, which then held the presidency of the Council of the European Union, by the ambassador of Iceland in Stockholm. The application was again handed over by the Icelandic foreign minister to the Swedish one in a ceremony in Stockholm on 23 July 2009.
Sweden, then holder of the EU presidency, announced that it would prioritise Iceland's EU accession process. On 24 July, the Lithuanian Parliament unanimously approved and gave full support for Iceland's membership application to join the European Union. Later, on 27 July, Malta also announced that it supports Iceland's EU bid.
In September 2009, the Spanish foreign minister visited Iceland to discuss the progress of the Icelandic application; Spain chaired the EU from January-June 2010. On 8 September, the EU commission sent a list of 2,500 questions to Iceland about its fulfilment of political and economic criteria and adoption of EU law. Iceland returned answers to them on 22 October 2009. On 2 November, Iceland selected a chief negotiator for the membership negotiations with the EU: Stefán Haukur Jóhannesson, Iceland's Ambassador to Belgium.
In January 2010 the Icesave dispute became an issue. The United Kingdom and the Netherlands want the Icelandic government to repay them the costs incurred in covering their citizens' losses due to the bankruptcy of some Icelandic banks. If Iceland does not pay, obstacles to membership could be laid by the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. If Iceland agrees to repay the UK and the Netherlands, the added debt will make it difficult to adopt the euro, a major reason for Iceland to join the EU, because of the convergence criteria. Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos, who then held the Presidency of the European Union, has said that the Icesave dispute does not impact Iceland's application. David Miliband, then British Foreign Minister, reaffirmed the UK's continued support for Iceland's EU application. Additionally, the Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen has stated that while the opening of negotiations will not be blocked by the Icesave dispute, it must be resolved before Iceland's accession.
In February 2010, the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy recommended to the Council of the European Union to start accession negotiations with Iceland. While it was expected that Iceland would be considered for official candidate status at the EU summit in March, this was delayed to allow the German national parliament, which has the authority to debate important EU policy such as enlargement before action is taken by the government, to consider the matter. The German Parliament voted in favour of opening membership negotiations on 22 April 2010. The European Council decided in June to begin negotiations, and on 17 June 2010, the EU granted official candidate status to Iceland by formally approving the opening of membership talks.
Negotiations for membership of the EU started on 27 July 2010, with screening of specific acquis chapters beginning on 15 November 2010. Iceland became eligible for pre-accession funding from the EU through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) since July 2010.
The first annual report on negotiations was published in November 2010: the main issues at stake remained the fisheries sector and whale hunting, while progress has been made concerning the Icesave dispute.
The screening process ended and formal negotiations began on 27 June 2011. Four chapters were opened: science and research; education and culture; public procurement; information society and media. The first two were immediately closed, a first in accession history. Iceland aimed to open half of the remaining chapters under the Polish presidency (the second half of 2011) and the other half under the following Danish presidency (first half of 2012). Despite disputes over Icesave and fishing, and the fact there was then no majority in favour of membership in Iceland, Icelandic Foreign Minister Össur Skarphéðinsson was confident Iceland would join and looked to the EU's flexibility in negotiations with Norway during the 1990s as hope. He did however claim that ultimately it was the major fishing countries of the EU who would influence the outcome of the application.
In February 2013, the Icelandic chief negotiator stated that the main driving force for Iceland joining the EU was the benefit to the country of adopting the euro to replace the inflation-plagued Icelandic króna. Iceland's HICP inflation and related long-term government interest rates were both recorded to be around 6 per cent on average for 2012. Most importantly, however, while the country retained the Icelandic kronur, it was unable to lift the capital controls recently introduced in the turmoil of the economic crisis. Introduction of the euro, a far stronger currency, would allow the country to lift these capital controls and achieve an increased inward flow of foreign economic capital, which ultimately would ensure higher and more stable economic growth. To be eligible to adopt the euro, Iceland would need to join the EU, as unilateral euro adoption had previously been refused by the EU.
The Icelandic Parliamentary committee on foreign affairs tabled a proposal on 18 December 2012 to suspend accession negotiations. The motion also called for an "application referendum" to be held to determine the will of the Icelandic people prior to any resumption of negotiations. A similar proposal was submitted to the Icelandic parliament in May 2012, but was rejected by a vote of 25 for and 34 against. The Icelandic parliament had yet to vote on the new proposal, which were supported primarily at the time by the opposition Independence Party and Progressive Party. The leaders of both governing parties, the Social Democratic Alliance and Left-Green Movement, stated that they did not support the motion. However, some MPs from the Left-Green Movement declared their support for the measure. On 10 January 2013, the proposal was formally adopted by the Foreign Affairs committee.
On 14 January, the Icelandic government announced that negotiations would be slowed, and that an accession agreement would not be reached before the parliamentary election in April. No new chapters will be opened prior to the election, though negotiations will continue on chapters that have already been opened. In February 2013, the national congress of both the Independence Party and Progressive Party reconfirmed their policy that further membership negotiations with the EU should be stopped and not resumed unless they are first approved by a national referendum, while the national congresses of the Social Democratic Alliance, Bright Future and Left-Green Movement reiterated their support for the completion of EU accession negotiations.
On 19 March 2013, Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir, an Independence Party MP, put forward a motion in the Althing calling for a referendum asking the Icelandic public whether EU accession negotiations should continue. She proposed that the referendum be held during the upcoming parliamentary election in April if possible, or else during local elections in the spring of 2014. In response to Gunnarsdóttir and other proponents of EU integration within the Independence Party, Bjarni Benediktsson, the leader of the party, reiterated the party's policy of stopping negotiations with the EU, but promised to hold a referendum on continuing the negotiations in the first half of their term if they form government.
The ruling left-wing parties suffered a major defeat in the parliamentary elections that were held on 27 April 2013, while the centrist Progressive Party had a large victory. The leaders of the Progressive Party and the Independence Party began negotiating the formation of a coalition government, and on 22 May it was announced that a coalition platform had been agreed to that would suspend all accession talks with the EU and not resume them unless approved by a referendum. However, under Icelandic law, it is not the Government but the Icelandic Parliament which decides to end negotiations. On 13 June, Iceland's Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson informed the European Commission that the newly elected government intended to "put negotiations on hold". European Commission President Manuel Barroso responded on 16 July 2013 by requesting that the new Icelandic Prime Minister make a decision on the continuation of their accession bid "without further delay", and stressed that the EU remained "committed to continue the accession negotiations process, which I'm certain could address Iceland's specificities".
In August 2013 the Icelandic government revealed that it had received a legal opinion that the 2009 Parliamentary vote did not oblige it to continue accession negotiations with the EU. In light of this, the Foreign Ministry stated that it had "decided to consider dissolving the negotiation committee". A few weeks later the committee was officially dissolved. Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson said that "the process has been suspended. But nothing has been closed down." In October 2013 Benediktsson stated that no decision on ending Iceland's membership bid would be made until a report being prepared by the government on negotiations and "the recent changes within the union" was completed, expected to be by the end of 2013. Benediktsson went on to say that "we will see if a proposal will be put before the parliament or not." On 12 March 2015, Foreign Minister of Iceland Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson stated that he had sent a letter to the EU withdrawing the application for membership, without the approval of the Althing, though the European Union stated that Iceland had not formally withdrawn the application.
In 2017, Iceland's newly elected government announced that it would hold a vote in parliament on whether to hold a referendum on resuming EU membership negotiations. However, in November 2017 that government was replaced by a coalition of the Independence Party, the Left Green Movement and the Progressive Party; all of whom oppose membership. Only 11 out of 63 MPs are in favour of EU membership.
EU affiliation ahead of membership application
EU membership application and the preparational phase
EU membership negotiations
|Acquis chapter||EC assessment (2012)||Screening started||Screening completed||Chapter opened||Chapter closed|
|1. Free movement of goods||Generally already applies the acquis||2010-12-07||2010-12-08||2012-12-18||-|
|2. Freedom of movement for workers||Generally already applies the acquis||2011-02-09||2011-02-09||2011-10-19||2011-10-19|
|3. Right of establishment & freedom to provide services||Generally already applies the acquis||2010-12-09||-||-|
|4. Free movement of capital||Some level of preparation||2010-12-10||2010-12-10||-||-|
|5. Public procurement||Generally already applies the acquis||2010-11-15||2010-11-15||2011-06-27||-|
|6. Company law||Generally already applies the acquis||2010-11-16||2010-11-16||2011-12-12||2011-12-12|
|7. Intellectual property law||Generally already applies the acquis||2010-12-20||2010-12-20||2011-10-19||2011-10-19|
|8. Competition policy||Generally already applies the acquis||2010-12-06||2010-12-06||2012-03-30||2012-12-18|
|9. Financial services||Generally already applies the acquis||2010-11-18||2010-12-15||2012-10-24||-|
|10. Information society & media||Generally already applies the acquis||2010-11-17||2010-11-17||2011-06-27||-|
|11. Agriculture & rural development||Early stage||2010-11-30||2011-01-27||-||-|
|12. Food safety, veterinary & phytosanitary policy||Moderately prepared||2011-02-14||2011-03-31||-||-|
|13. Fisheries||Some level of preparation||2010-12-16||2011-03-02||-||-|
|14. Transport policy||Good level of preparation||2011-05-04||2011-06-09||2012-06-22||-|
|15. Energy||Moderately prepared||2011-05-12||2011-06-20||2012-03-30||-|
|16. Taxation||Moderately prepared||2011-02-03||2011-03-04||2012-12-18||-|
|17. Economic & monetary policy||Generally already applies the acquis||2011-03-17||2011-05-17||2012-12-18||-|
|18. Statistics||Moderately prepared||2011-05-02||2011-06-07||2012-10-24||-|
|19. Social policy & employment||Generally already applies the acquis||2011-02-07||2011-03-16||2012-06-22||-|
|20. Enterprise & industrial policy||Generally already applies the acquis||2011-04-12||2011-05-25||2011-12-12||2011-12-12|
|21. Trans-European networks||Generally already applies the acquis||2011-05-06||2011-06-10||2011-12-12||2011-12-12|
|22. Regional policy & coordination of structural instruments||Good level of preparation||2011-01-31||2011-02-22||2012-12-18||-|
|23. Judiciary & fundamental rights||Generally already applies the acquis||2011-01-11||2011-02-11||2011-12-12||2011-12-12|
|24. Justice, freedom & security||Good level of preparation||2011-04-14||2011-05-24||-||-|
|25. Science & research||Generally already applies the acquis||2010-11-25||2011-01-14||2011-06-27||2011-06-27|
|26. Education & culture||Generally already applies the acquis||2010-11-26||2011-01-14||2011-06-27||2011-06-27|
|27. Environment||Good level of preparation||2010-11-22||2011-01-19||2012-12-18||-|
|28. Consumer & health protection||Generally already applies the acquis||2011-04-11||2011-05-16||2012-03-30||2012-03-30|
|29. Customs union||Good level of preparation||2011-03-08||2011-04-06||2012-10-24||-|
|30. External relations||Generally already applies the acquis||2011-04-08||2011-05-19||2012-12-18||-|
|31. Foreign, security & defence policy||Generally already applies the acquis||2011-04-07||2011-05-20||2012-03-30||2012-03-30|
|32. Financial control||Moderately prepared||2010-11-29||2011-02-02||2012-06-22||-|
|33. Financial & budgetary provisions||Good level of preparation||2011-03-07||2011-04-04||2011-12-12||-|
|34. Institutions||Nothing to adopt||-||-||-||-|
|35. Other issues||Nothing to adopt||-||-||-||-|
|Progress||33 out of 33||33 out of 33||27 out of 33||11 out of 33|
The screening is a series of meetings between the commission and the applicant country examining the level of fulfilment of the EU acquis. It allows candidate countries to familiarise themselves with the acquis and it allows the Commission and the member States to evaluate the degree of preparedness of candidate countries prior to negotiations.
|Party||Position||Main argument as stated on party websites|
|Bright Future||Yes||Supports the continuation of accession negotiations and a referendum on joining the EU.|
|Independence Party||No||"The Independence Party puts forth the clear demand that the application for Iceland's membership of the European Union will be withdrawn without delay."|
|Left-Green Movement||No||"EU-membership would diminish the independence of Iceland even more than the EEA Agreement does and jeopardise Iceland's control over its resources."|
|Pirate Party Iceland||Neutral||The party concludes that it should not be up to politicians to decide whether Iceland joins the European Union but to the general population after transparent and informative accession talks.|
|Progressive Party||No||"The Progressive Party believes the interests of the country and the nation are best secured outside the EU."|
|Social Democratic Alliance||Yes||"We want to apply for an EU-membership and start negotiations. We will seek a national unity in this matter and use the national referendum as the highest court."|
|Government||Social Democratic Alliance||Yes|
|No seats in the parliament||Citizens' Movement||Yes|
|Opposition||Social Democratic Alliance||Yes|
|Pirate Party Iceland||Neutral|
|Pirate Party Iceland||Neutral|
|Social Democratic Alliance||Yes|
|Opposition||Social Democratic Alliance||Yes|
|Pirate Party Iceland||Neutral|
A poll released in January 2014 found that 67.5% of Icelanders support holding a referendum on the continuation of accession negotiations. On 22 February, the governing parties agreed to formally withdraw the membership application, without first holding a referendum on the matter, and submitted a bill to parliament seeking their approval to do so. The decision led to thousands of protesters taking to the streets outside of the Parliament buildings in Reykjavík. By 28 February 82% were in favour of holding the referendum. More than 40,000 people (16.5% of Iceland's voters) have signed a petition demanding that the promised referendum be held. On 25 February, Ragnheiður Ríkharðsdóttir, Chairman of the parliamentary group of the Independence Party, announced her intention not to vote in favour of the proposal. In early March, the EU ambassador to Iceland said that the country could keep its application suspended rather than having to decide between resuming negotiations or formally withdrawing the application, "but of course not for an unlimited period of time". The bill was not approved before parliament's summer recess.
Various polls have been taken on the public opinion of starting accession negotiations, joining the EU or adopting the euro.
|May 1999||DV ||Start negotiations||57,1%||27,7%||15,2%|
|March 2002||Capacent-Gallup||Start negotiations||91%||5%||4%|
|August 2005||Capacent-Gallup||Start negotiations||55%||37%||8%|
|September 2007||Capacent-Gallup||Start negotiations||59%||26%||15%|
|More reasons than last year||54.7%||7.3%||38.1%|
|18 October 2008||Capacent Gallup||Referendum on application||70%||17.5%||12.5%|
|24 November 2008||Fréttablaðið||Submit application||60%||40%||-|
|January 2009||Capacent Gallup||Join||38%||38%||24%|
|26 January 2009||Fréttablaðið||Submit application||40%||60%||-|
|March 2009||||Start negotiations||64%||28%||8%|
|11 April 2009||Fréttablaðið||Submit application||45.6%||54.4%||0%|
|5 May 2009||Capacent Gallup||Start negotiations||61%||27%||12%|
|10 June 2009||Capacent Gallup||Referendum on application||76.3%||17.8%||5.8%|
|30 July 2009||Fréttablaðið||Start negotiations||51%||36%||13%|
|4 August 2009||Capacent Gallup||Join||34.7%||48.5%||16.9%|
|15 September 2009||Capacent Gallup||Join||32.7%||50.2%||17%|
|If referendum now, how would you vote||38.5%||61.5%||0%|
|Happy with application?||39.6%||43.2%||17.1%|
|5 November 2009||Bifröst University Research Institute||Join||29.0%||54%||17%|
|28 February 2010||Capacent Gallup||Join||33.3%||55.9%||10.8%|
|5 March 2010||Capacent Gallup||Join||24.4%||60%||15.5%|
|If referendum now, how would you vote||30.5%||69.4%||0%|
|14 June 2010||MMR||Maintain EU application||24.3%||57.6%||18.1%|
|6 July 2010||Capacent Gallup||Join||26%||60%||14%|
|2 September 2010||Capacent Gallup||Start negotiations||38.8%||45.5%||15.7%|
|29 September 2010||Fréttablaðið||Continue with negotiations||64.2%||32.8%||3%|
|24 January 2011||Fréttablaðið||Continue with negotiations||65.4%||34.6%||0%|
|10 March 2011||Capacent Gallup||Join||31.4%||50.5%||18%|
|If referendum now, how would you vote||38.9%||61.1%||0%|
|17 March 2011||MMR||Join||30%||55.7%||14.2%|
|16 June 2011||Capacent Gallup||Join||37.3%||50.1%||12.6%|
|30 June 2011||Capacent Gallup||Maintain EU application||38.5%||51.0%||10.5%|
|11 August 2011||Capacent Gallup||Join||35.5%||64.5%||0%|
|12 September 2011||Fréttablaðið||Continue with negotiations||63.4%||36.6%||0%|
|16 November 2011||MMR||Maintain EU application||35.3%||50.5%||14.2%|
|17 November 2011||Capacent Gallup||Continue with negotiations||53.1%||46.9%||0%|
|12 December 2011||Fréttablaðið||Continue with negotiations||65.3%||34.7%||0%|
|19 January 2012||Capacent Gallup||Join||31.5%||53.5%||15%|
|19 January 2012||MMR||Adopt Euro||28%||52%||20%|
|22 February 2012||Capacent Gallup||Join||26.3%||56.2%||17.5%|
|If referendum now, how would you vote||32.6%||67.4%||0%|
|Maintain EU application||42.6%||43.6%||13.9%|
|27 April 2012||University of Iceland||Join||27.5%||53.8%||18.7%|
|15 October 2012||Capacent Gallup||Join||27.3%||57.6%||15.0%|
|12 November 2012||Capacent Gallup||Maintain EU application||36.4%||53.5%||9.9%|
|18 January 2013||Fréttablaðið||Continue with negotiations||48.5%||36.4%||15%|
|13 February 2013||MMR||Join||24.2%||63.3%||12.5%|
|6 March 2013||Capacent Gallup||Join||25.1%||58.5%||16.5%|
|If referendum now, how would you vote||30%||70%||0%|
|Maintain EU application||43.5%||44.6%||11.9%|
|15 March 2013||Capacent Gallup||Continue and complete negotiations||54%||35%||11%|
|23 April 2013||University of Iceland||Join||27.6%||52.2%||20.2%|
|Continue with negotiations||52.7%||30.7%||16.5%|
|5 March 2014||Capacent Gallup||Join||37%||47%||16%|
|Hold referendum on continuing negotiations||72%||21%||7%|
If Iceland were admitted to the EU, it would be the smallest member state in terms of population. Its area (103,000 km2) is somewhat close to the average for EU countries (165,048 km2), but it would be the least densely populated country in the EU. The table below shows its population and population density in comparison to some of the other member states.
|Population figures||Population density|
|EU rank||Country||Population||EU rank||Country||Density|
|14||Sweden (EU median)||9,747,355||14||Slovenia (EU median)||102.4|
|EU Average||18,149,682||EU Average||117.5|
|EU Ranking||Country||GDP per capita (PPP)|
|Member countries||Population||Area (km2)||GDP
per capita (US$)
|Country||Icelandic embassy||Reciprocal embassy||Notes|
|Austria||Icelandic Permanent Mission to CTBTO, IAEA and OSCE|
|Belgium||Brussels||Icelandic Mission to the EU and Permanent Delegation to NATO in Brussels|
Consulate General: Tórshavn
|France||Paris||Reykjavík||Icelandic Mission to OECD, UNESCO and Council of Europe|
|Italy||Icelandic Permanent Mission to FAO, IFAD and WFP|
Aðild að ESB myndi skerða fullveldi Íslands enn frekar en orðið er með EES-samningnum og tefla í tvísýnu yfirráðum Íslendinga yfir auðlindum sínum.
Það er ekki hlutverk stjórnmálaflokka að taka afstöðu með eða á móti aðild en aftur á móti eiga þeir að vera undirbúnir undir hvora niðurstöðuna sem er.