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Of June 17 and rescinding the EU application

So an MP for the Independence Party, Unnur Brá Konráðsdóttir, along with several other MPs, is currently preparing a parliamentary resolution that would have Iceland rescind its application to the European Union.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg has a draft declaration from the upcoming meeting which states that Iceland’s accession application will be approved at a meeting of the EU leaders on June 17. Which does not come as any surprise — it was more or less known.

Unnur Brá has been going slightly ballistic lately over Iceland’s EU application. Among other things she demanded last week that the government see to it that Iceland’s accession application NOT be discussed at the aforementioned meeting on June 17 — Iceland’s National Day — because it is “humiliating” for Iceland.

The only thing “humiliating” for Iceland is when people like Unnur Brá make demands of that nature. I mean, come on — isn’t this taking the megalomania a bit too far? Iceland is a freaking bleep on the radar of that meeting — it’s not like all those EU leaders are descending on Brussels JUST to discuss Iceland’s accession application. I daresay they have more serious concerns to focus on [Greece, EU-wide recession, europroblems …]. To maintain the meeting was scheduled [months and months ago!] to be on this particular day JUST to humiliate Iceland is just … wacko.

BUT this is the sort of thing the anti-EU camp just grabs and runs with. Anything to whip up bad blood among the nation.

And clearly it is working. If the results of a survey published yesterday* are to be believed, the majority of Icelanders, or 57.6%, want the application rescinded. Two-thirds of the nation feel that the direct funds used towards preparing Iceland’s EU application are very badly or rather badly spent.

It’s early days, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the Icelandic attitude won’t change much. Icelanders are too damn stubborn, and they abhor rules and regulations [just ask anyone who has ever been out in Icelandic traffic]. They won’t be able to stand for anyone telling them what to do. Alas, this sort of stalwart “independence” is deeply ingrained into the psyche of the nation — for better or for worse.

* by the company MMR for the blog Vefþjóðvilinn.

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  • Virgile June 15, 2010, 12:33 am

    Pffffú Unnur bra and Cie are just shit scared that the nicelanders start to receive proper information about the EU. the Indpendence party can not properly formulate a structured argumentation against without pulling their populists crap. People will soon discover that the EU is not a big Monster coming to bite innocent icelanders.

  • JimJones June 15, 2010, 3:53 am

    Odd factoid. My birthday and Independance Day in Iceland..same day.

    I’m thining of one year celebrating my birthday in Iceland. I know they won’t be celebrating my birthday, per se, but I can act like it. 🙂

  • ReallyEvilCanine June 15, 2010, 4:21 am

    For better AND for worse, I’d say. But considering how politically correct the EU feels it has to be for every other member, I’d have expected them to have moved the ascension talks to the 16th… unless perhaps the UK and Netherlands were once again trying to put the boot in.

  • Gwrhyr June 15, 2010, 5:42 am

    I’m glad that a majority of Icelanders want to rescind the application – despite the fact that the IP’s motivations are bass ackwards. (My anti-EU feeling is more the Green party type – that power should be as decentralized and localized as possible. That’s an important part of the global green political movement that most people don’t even know about because they think that green politics are ONLY about the environment).

  • Kris June 15, 2010, 6:52 am

    I’m against joining the EU. I don’t see the value.
    Pride of place is not so bad in my book. At least she cares.
    I do actually believe in one thing she mentions (just one), joining the EU, especially under these circumstances, is a humiliating failure to self-govern. Robbing the country blind, selling the left-overs to the Chinese and then run crying the the EU. Man, that’s wrong!

  • Peter - London/Krakow June 15, 2010, 7:44 am

    I suspect that losing the ability to walk all over the Icelandic electorate is behind the anti-EU camp. Iirritating as the EU is, it does have laws and principles that would stop politicians behaving in ‘certain’ ways.

  • Michael Lewis June 15, 2010, 10:56 am

    “BUT this is the sort of thing the anti-EU camp just grabs and runs with. Anything to whip up bad blood among the nation.”

    There are plenty of perfectly valid reasons to loathe the EU.

    “this sort of stalwart “independence” is deeply ingrained into the psyche of the nation — for better or for worse.”

    For Iceland, I’ve no doubt – for the better.

  • Michael Schulz June 15, 2010, 12:09 pm

    As we speak there are the real small smart states such as Estonia or Lithuania who obtained EU membership now adopting or preparing to adopt the Euro. But, of course, they are smart.

    Here, in Iceland, too many of the criminally corrupted elites/parties/MPs/etc. have realised they’d sink into oblivion and vanish into thin air of history if the country were to become a full EU member. They’re continuing oppression by suppression of any enlightened public debate. Their means are mis- and dis-information. I have not heard any of the oppressors giving a substantive explanation of sovereignty. By sovereignty they mean exploitative sovereignty.

    They don’t want to lose Iceland’s fish stock to the EU !? Who owns the fish anyway after the quota owners leveraged their shares ? The Deutsche Bank?

    You are right: they do not understand that Iceland’s economy is in shambles and at best of times only a split fraction of the EU’s economic volume. They do not understand that Iceland is only a mote in the EU’s universe. That’s megalomania.

    Unfortunately, even tragically, the government doesn’t demonstrate leadership, not on Icesave, not on political issues, not on the EU application, not on … ! I start resigning to the fact that they simply don’t know. They’re not smart enough.

    It might in the end be better for the EU if they keep Iceland out.
    Cheers,
    Michael

  • roughdoggo June 15, 2010, 1:17 pm

    It is ironic that Iceland, desparate to save itself, would choose to board a sinking ship.

    A majority of experts in European banking in a recent poll foresee the Euro falling apart within the next five years. Some even speak of a matter of weeks. Whatever the length of time, its days are numbered.

    Given that, how long does anyone think that the EU itself will last? Readers are advised to look at former EU Chief Accountant Marta Andreasen’s book “Brussels Laid Bare”, which gives a breathtaking picture of the unbelievable depth of corruption that permeates the EU’s bureaucracies. Any institution so rotten is bound to fall apart.

    And when that happens, what will be Iceland’s fate?

  • Joerg June 15, 2010, 2:27 pm

    As far as I am aware, abhorring rules and regulations is one of the main reasons for the crash. And it was a corrupt elite of Icelanders and not a monstrous foreign institution, which robbed the piggy banks of ordinary Icelanders (and foreigners) for their private well-being. The only reason to blame the EU is, that they provided the loophole via EEA, allowing inept Icelandic banks to do business outside of Iceland.

    Wouldn’t it be consequent to rescind membership in EEA/EFTA/NATO and other international organisations as well? I think, it could provide a wonderful feeling of independence, seeing the corrupt Icelandic elite loot the country’s resources without interference of external rules and regulations. And if this is just too much of independence, there are still the international aluminium companies and the new altruistic friends like China to resort to. Maybe, the country would loose some more of it’s best people, who can’t see their future in such an environment, but would it bother those, who are left behind?

  • Michael Lewis June 15, 2010, 2:42 pm

    ” People will soon discover that the EU is not a big Monster coming to bite innocent icelanders.”

    They’ll discover it is undemocratic, terribly flawed and helps amongst other things, maintain poverty in Africa. This via the common agricultural policy*, where taxpayers fund the lifestyle of French farmers.

    The hypocrisy of the EU knows no bounds.

    * Oxfam charity, have on numerous times capaigned against it.

  • goupil June 15, 2010, 2:50 pm

    I know it is a tad pessimistic but even Nouriel Roubini estimate at 50 percent the chance of a euro debacle

    http://www.zerohedge.com/
    According To AXA, There Is “No Chance” European Bail Out Package Will Succeed
    Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/15/2010 00:56 -0500

    “Ms Zemek said the rescue had bought a “maximum” of 18 months respite before deeper structural damage hits home, with a “probable” default by Greece setting off a chain reaction across Southern Europe. “It would be the end of the euro as we know it. The long-term implications are at best a split in the eurozone, at worst the destruction of the euro. It is not going to end happily however you slice it.”

  • Bromley86 June 15, 2010, 5:03 pm

    Of course, the current suggestion that Germany pull out of the Euro to allow it to crash would mean that Iceland could transfer into the Euro when it’s at a low to the ISK.

    See, every cloud has a silver lining 🙂 .

    On the subject of altruistic Chinese friends, looks like Iceland Review pulled an article on China pressuring the IMF. Unfortunately Google didn’t cache it. Copy & paste the following to see what I’m talking about.

    “China Helped Iceland within the IMF”

    I know, I know, I’m being paranoid.

  • alda June 15, 2010, 8:06 pm

    Bromley — I heard something about this today from my sources … something about a threat from the Chinese ambassador if the news item was not removed. Am trying to get the full story …

  • Grif June 15, 2010, 9:16 pm

    From the yahoo cache:

    June 14 | China Helped Iceland within the IMF
    The representatives of China used their influence on the IMF board to help Iceland secure the loan application. The Ambassador of China to Iceland confirmed this in an interview with Morgunbladid.

    [picture of the Chinese wall]

    Su Ge, the new Chinese ambassador in Iceland said that China was willing to consider broader economic cooperation between the countries than the 66 billion ISK (500 million USD, 400 million Euros) agreed upon in a mutual agreement between the two countries. The agreement means that Icelanders can use Icelandic currency when buying Chinese goods. Only five or six countries have such an agreement with the Chinese government.

    Su claims that the support of China within the International Monetary Fund board had influence, but the Dutch and British governments have been accused of delaying the IMF program in Iceland to try to get Iceland to come to an agreement on the Icesave-conflict.

    The ambassador said that China was not looking for a political stage many decades in the future but rather giving a friendly nation a helping hand in difficult times. Ambassador Su said that cooperation could be closer in the near future. The ties would include increased trade and a visit from Minister of Industry and Tourism Katrín Júlíusdóttir would visit China to promote Chinese tourism to Iceland.

  • bun June 15, 2010, 9:43 pm

    Well said Joerg!

    I cannot understand this attitude, being so scared of the EU on the one side and defend so vehemently the national “independence”, when it was the Icelandic political elite who sunk the country into this mess. It is them who is seeling the national resources to foreign hands, not the EU! If anything, I’d be a lot more scared of letting the old political structure run wild unobserved, than joining the EU. Despite the EU’s problems (and they are many), at least they have a coincidence of values and interests that most certainly China does not share.

    Strange mindset… it baffles the mind!

  • Sebastian June 15, 2010, 10:45 pm

    What’s the controversy with the article? China has 3.65% of the voting power in the IMF. Using their voting power can hardly be categorized as “pressuring the IMF”, especially not when they voted in accordance with the stance of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and most countries.

    I would be more worried about the Germans and the EU. At least if you eat meat.

    Iceland does not want to ban whale hunting. It looks like Berlin has a clear message to Reykjavik.

    (http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,699949,00.html)

    in Berlin, [German IWC commissioner] Lindemann said that “Iceland also has to fully accept the export ban.” He added: “It’s Iceland that wants to become part of the European Union and not the other way around. The rules are clear.”

    The rules are that whaling is illegal in the EU.

    On the matter of Iceland’s EU application, didn’t the Icelandic people elect a pro-EU parliament? You get what you wanted.

    Of course, Iceland won’t join the EU, so it’s a waste of time and money. I guess that’s why 70% (adjusted for those “unsure”) of Icelanders now want the application rescinded.

  • sylvia hikins June 15, 2010, 10:45 pm

    Europe is your friend and neighbour. Join the EU but don’t adopt the Euro. Don’t let your inward looking clans persuade you otherwise. Where will you get your future wealth from? The de-funct banking sector? Fish? Tourism? You can stay independent and still belong to a wider family. Your young people will benefit with increased opportunity and a chance to live, work and travel freely amongst a bigger community. Nothing in this world is perfect. But joining Europe isn’t a sell out- it simply makes sense.
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • Bromley86 June 16, 2010, 1:01 am

    >What’s the controversy with the article? China has 3.65% of the voting power in the IMF. Using their voting power can hardly be categorized as “pressuring the IMF”

    Your hatred of the EU blinded you to the real story. Iceland Review appears to have pulled an article, whatever its content, because the Chinese didn’t like it.

    Welcome to the world outside the EU 🙂 . No, seriously, Iceland should (and will) do what it wants. Trading with a totalitarian regime is very different from belonging to a democratic, if flawed/corrupt, bloc.

    Thanks Grif for reminding me that there are other search engines 🙂 .

  • alda June 16, 2010, 1:10 am

    Grif — thanks for digging that up!

    You know, this whole China thing has me baffled. The story has it that the Chinese Ambassador demanded that the report be removed in English OR ELSE. And it was. BUT of course Iceland Review gets all their news from Morgunblaðið, and the Mbl report is still up, in Icelandic. And now RÚV has it, too. So — I don’t know what’s going on.

  • kevin oconnor,waterford ireland June 16, 2010, 4:03 am

    Chinese dont understand Icelandic and seen as they dislike google they refuse to use google translate like me so they missed it on their radar screens, EU yes it is looking dim on the referendum side of things, pity like the banning whaling side of the EU, still maybe the boys in sea shepard will come up from Antartica to give Icelandic and Norwegian whalers the Japanese treatment ha ha.

  • Sebastian June 16, 2010, 11:48 am

    I sent an email to the Chinese Embassy. I’ll let you know if they respond. Maybe China will pressure Alda to remove some comments. 🙂

    Bromley86:
    How can you justify referring to my comment as EU hatred? Did I lie? Did I misrepresent the EU position on whaling?

    The whaling issue is highly relevant. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meets next week in Morocco. If Iceland was member of the EU, they would be demanded to support the EU position. As for now, Iceland can put forwards their independent arguments.

    kevin oconnor,waterford ireland:
    By “Japanese treatment”, do you mean losing a vessel (Adi Gil) and get a captain (Peter Bethune) thrown in prison? Déjà vu! The ship “Whales Forever” was damaged beyond repairs, and Paul Watson himself ended up in jail last time Sea Shepherd visited up north.

  • Pétur June 17, 2010, 5:23 am

    Well, if it was only me I wouldn’t like to have Iceland join the EU for the simple reason that Icelandic people never expressed the will to join it but for opportunist reasons.
    Iceland is more likely the 52nd State of the Union, than the 28th member of the EU.

  • Sebastian June 22, 2010, 6:25 pm

    I sent an email to the Chinese Embassy.

    But no reply… Shocker!

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