Favour withdrawing the EU application

AFP

The conservative Independence Party will support a resolution in parliament to formally withdraw Iceland's application to join the European Union. This was confirmed today by Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister of Finance and the party's chairman, in an interview with the state broadcaster RÚV.

The EU accession talks were put on hold after the general elections in April 2013. The elections resulted in the Independence Party and the centrist Progress Party forming a coalition government backed by 38 MPs out of 63 in total. Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson said earlier this month that he expected a resolution withdrawing the EU application to be put to the parliament soon and Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, who as Gunnlaugsson belongs to the Progress Party, has said it would be senseless not to withdraw the application. If anything Sveinsson has said there are more arguments for doing so now than a year ago.

The government put such a resolution to the parliament last year but the matter was not concluded before summer recess.

Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson.

Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson. Photo: mbl.is/Ómar Óskarsson

Mainly because of a filibusted which was staged by the opposition calling for a referendum on the issue. As a consequence the government decided to postpone the matter as it considered more pressing to get other issues accepted. Primarily laws paving the way for a government program to reduce household debts.

"This is a resolution which we supported last year," Benediktsson said adding that nothing had changed since then. Asked if that meant the conservatives would support a resolution to withdraw the EU application he replied: "Yes, we would do that just like we did last time."

Related stories:

'Senseless' not to withdraw the application

The EU application withdrawn soon?

Will not repeat the EU accession 'circus'

Aims to withdraw the EU application

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