The Icelandic parliament, Althingi, has just passed a resolution to enter into membership talks with the European Union, with 33 votes in favour, 28 opposed, and two abstaining.
The debate has been dragging on for days. [Or, depending on how you look at it, years.] There is massive controversy over the issue, even within the individual parties, and a part of the problem has been that the two parties in the coalition government – the Social Democratic Alliance and the Left-Green Movement – have been at odds on the matter. The SDA has always been in favour, the Left-Greens opposed.
A number of amendments were put forth about the resolution, that were debated ad nauseum before the actual voting on the main issue began. One was an amendment proposal by the IP that there should be a double referendum – i.e. that there should be a national referendum about whether or not to enter into talks at all and, if that were passed, another on whether the EU agreement should be accepted. Personally I think this was the IP’s attempt to bring down the government – had this proposal been accepted, it would have meant an effective collapse of the coalition, paving the way for the IP to return to power. [Which to many of us is an unthinkable nightmare.] So that was very tense – and the relief palpable [at least Chez YT] when the outcome was announced.
More on this later, perhaps – but the bottom line is that this is a historic day for Iceland and – we hope – an auspicious one.
The weather is gorgeous – and I have a few more things to do before I can go out an enjoy it. Currently around 16°C and sunrise/sunset – oh, about the same as yesterday.