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Iceland, the EU and that pesky rebellious streak

The Financial Times has a good piece today on Iceland’s potential [or more likely non, according to the article] membership to the European Union.

So Icelandic entry into the EU is far from automatic.  It is a well-off, well-organised, law-abiding, creative society, and in this sense Iceland is far ahead of other countries queuing up to join the EU.  But Iceland doesn’t like being told what to do – and when it comes to membership talks, telling a country what to do is what the EU, for better or worse, excels in.

You can read the full article here.

No, Icelanders definitely do not like being told what to do. For better or for worse. And the proposal to rescind the application seems to be gaining momentum, with the Independence Party apparently set to pass a resolution to that effect at their national congress this weekend.

Oh, and then there’s the reaction to David Cameron’s declarations, which is a whole chapter unto itself. More on that later, perhaps — assuming I manage to steel myself for another round of Iceland-bashing.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • sylvia hikins June 23, 2010, 12:10 pm

    The FT article described Iceland (and therefor Icelanders) as ‘proud, clever,independent and stubborn’.
    These are defined in the Oxford Dictionary as:
    Proud: Having a high or lofty opinion of oneself.
    Stubborn: Pertinacious or dogged in refusing obedience or compliance; unyielding, inflexible, obstinate.
    Clever: Nimble of claws, sharp to sieze. Possessing a skill or talent, dexterous, adroit.
    Independent: Not depending upon the authority of another; not subject to external control or rules; not dependent upon another for support or supplies.
    What a mine set!!!! The EU definately needs you!!!! And actually, I suspect you need the EU. Time to rethink national myths???
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • Virgile June 23, 2010, 1:19 pm

    waoooou the FT clear did a great job showing that they support anti-europeanism and David Cameron. It is all time good to show that you can lick the person in charge’ s ass 🙂

    The whaling part in the article is interesting. the journalist use exactly the same argument use by japanese in the movie the Cove http://www.thecovemovie.com/ (whaling as cultural thing but most importantly a finger to the whole world showing that Japan do no care about what the rest of the world thinks). Are we that screwed up?

    Some french journalist, wrote a couple of days ago something interesting.On one hand, David Cameron is trashing the EU permanentally and on the other hand, hoping to use the EU to get poor british icesave people their money…the EU is not really willing to help england anymore.

    As for the Indenpence party and their anti european campain, they are just surfing on the general unhappiness of Iceland due to the global situation, the unpopular decision that HAS TO be taken. The problem is that, they will soon be stranded because the time they are wasting holding grudges about application process is time they are not using to find congret and solid arguments against the EU. Arguments not based on rumors and myths about the Euromonster coming and eating Iceland (and its fish). They have yet to move foward for the good of everyone. It is nice to have someone sceptical at the negociation table. What the independence party has yet to understand it that Iceland is small, alone and needs friends. Geopolitic 101. Cancelling the application membership will be a international suicide for Iceland. The independence party knows it. This is just a smoke screen.

    This WE congress is going to very interesting. To see how the independence party is going to takle this issue, especially with the pro-european part of the party who clearly now wants to have it voices being heard.

    Opinions in Iceland change rapidely…

  • kevin oconnor,waterford ireland June 23, 2010, 1:20 pm

    I am pro for Iceland joining the EU on the whale thing, not even those people that like to stick spears into bulls do whaling aka the Spanish and they have a flourishing “fish till you drop” industry attached is graph from Der Spiegel showing the fate of the whales population wise over the 20th century, yep why not keep going wipe those useless piles of blubber out.


    I suppose the equivalent for steak lovers is go into field fire a explosive cable into a cow and drag it round with your tractor till its dead much fun ha ha.

  • Joerg June 23, 2010, 1:49 pm

    “assuming I manage to steel myself for another round of Iceland-bashing. ”

    If you manage to steel yourself for this, you can easily apply for a job at the EU as anti-bashing coach. EU-bashing is at least as popular as Iceland-bashing in certain countries.

    And just for the record – even if I am German, I do not bash Iceland for its whaling obsession as the article suggests.

  • Virgile June 23, 2010, 4:51 pm

    Germans only love puffins……

  • Kris June 23, 2010, 7:21 pm

    Iceland should sue England for GBP2.3 billion for slander and lost revenue when it was labeled a terrorist state. Then negotiate. You drop your suit and we’ll drop ours. Sounds reasonable to me.
    The IP would not be so bad if most of it’s main supporters were in jail where they belonged! After a long losing streak ( or crime wave), maybe they get one right by opposing the EU.
    I don’t see any difference from being under EU control than being under Danish rule because you’ll just be under somebody else’s rule. Same difference.

  • Joerg June 23, 2010, 9:35 pm

    “Germans only love puffins……”

    Indeed. Try smoked puffin breast in combination with a whale steak at 3frakkar – very delicious. 😉

  • jim June 24, 2010, 3:57 am

    I’m with Kris on this.

  • joseph June 24, 2010, 4:47 am

    From the FT article…

    “Enthusiasm for the EU was high when Iceland’s banking system and currency collapsed in 2008”

    But really, is that, or countless similar arguments from expedience, something that Iceland, or any nation, ought to consider as a reason for joining the EU?

    Again from FT, after mentioning Icelands position on whaling:

    “But Iceland doesn’t like being told what to do – and when it comes to membership talks, telling a country what to do is what the EU, for better or worse, excels in.”

    And that points to the core of the EU concept – the surrender, ever so gently, in tiny baby steps, of national sovereignty. All of the practical pros and cons of EU membership are irrelevant after that concession.

    “Pooled sovereignty”, one of the EU’s banner slogans, is not only an incoherent concept it’s Orwellian. It’s hard to even construct a simple two word phrase that’s more self contradictory. Yet, there it is. If you can get past the illogic of “pooled sovereignty” then it’s certain that nothing else about the EU will bother you.

    A 27 member panel in a far away land making even one law that I or my countrymen must heed? I’d rather my countrymen be poor, destitute and eat bugs to survive than tolerate a single decree from a foreign land.

  • Peter - London/Krakow June 24, 2010, 9:48 am

    Kris: ” Iceland should sue England for GBP2.3 billion for slander and lost revenue when it was labeled a terrorist state. ”

    The UK classified Iceland as a criminal, not terrorist, organisation. Given what has been revealed since it would be impossible to argue slander against Iceland

    “The IP would not be so bad if most of it’s main supporters were in jail where they belonged! After a long losing streak ( or crime wave)”

    Umm, see, even you agree…

  • goupil June 24, 2010, 10:03 am

    Yes to Europe but not that Europe
    Todays Europe is foremost “free and unfettered competition”
    Exactly the freedom of the fox in the hen coop. Exactly failed Reaganomics and Thatcherism. Absolutely contrary to the cooperation which may have allowed Icelanders to survive in an harsh environment.
    On an other level. How about banks being allowed to borrow at 1% but state forbidden to borrow from european central bank but forced to borrow from private banks at 3.5% minimum.
    If you want destruction of your social fabric go for that europe incapable to reach a working relationship. I won’t bore you with a comparison between Iceland and Greece (Greece had to pay for it’s expensive weapon program )
    Forgive me, I try to keep things simple and short.