The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Support for EU membership in Iceland reduced even further

​Two political parties who favour membership of the European Union remain in Iceland's parliament following the general elections that took place in the country on 28 October. Before the elections they were three but one of them, Bright Future, lost all its MPs. The two remaining pro-EU parties, the Social Democratic Alliance and the Restoration Party, have said they will not put EU membership as a condition for participating in a coalition government.

The number of parties, however, isn't what matters most but their combined number of lawmakers. The Social Democratic Alliance used to be the only political party in the Icelandic parliament to favour EU membership. However, at that time the party alone had around 17-20 MPs out of the total number of 63. Before the elections the three pro-EU parties had together 14 MPs and now the two remaining parties in favour of joining the EU have only eleven.

Meanwhile there are five political parties in the Icelandic parliament that reject joining the EU; theconservative Independence Party, the Left Green Movement, the centrist Progressive Party, the Centre Party and the People's Party. One more, the Pirate Party, has no official position on EU membership but favours putting most issues to a referendum en therefore has spoken in favour of a referendum on whether to re-apply for an EU accession or not.

The Pirates have six MPs so even if they are added to the pro-EU camp it has only 17 MPs combined compared to 24 before the last elections. Parties rejecting EU membership at the same time have 46 MPs together compared to 39 before the elections. In other words EU membership is far from enjoying majority support in the Icelandic parliament and in fact it never has. Pro-EU support among MPs hasn't been less for almost two decades.

On top of this membership of the EU has been rejected in every single opinion poll published in Iceland ever since the summer of 2009. The same year when the then left-wing government issues an EU application which was then put to rest in 2015 by a subsequent centre-right government in 2015 with a letter to Brussels announcing that Iceland was no longer a candidate for EU membership. The application was never likely to result in an EU membership.

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Thursday, 14 December 2017