Brexit: The idea of Iceland in the EU an even more distant reality

Iceland joining the EU is now "an even more distant …

Iceland joining the EU is now "an even more distant idea," says leader of the Independence Party, Bjarni Benediktsson who is also Iceland's Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs. Iceland Monitor/ Eggert Jóhannesson

Financial Minister and leader of Iceland's Independence Party Bjarni Benediktsson says that Britain's Leave vote is huge news politically and that it makes the idea of Iceland in the EU an even more distant one. 

Asked by this morning whether the result of the EU referendum in Britain had surprised him he answered that he had found it very difficult to assess the situation beforehand. "Polls in the UK were misleading but that's exactly why this is not a great surprise."

"These are huge political news, not only for Britain but also for the whole European cooperation. This is very telling for what has been happening in recent years when we've seen conflict within the European cooperation who have wanted to increasingly merge and to deepen the cooperation, and the others who have been gaining votes in the European Parliament elections and in the politics of different countries within the EU who have said, stop, no further, and believe that the EU countries have gone too far in their cooperation. This began as a peace and customs agreement and many believe that should be the core of the cooperation, and that interferance in people's daily lives should stop."

Benediktsson believes that new times lie ahead for the European cooperation and that the result of the Brexit vote could be the reminder that the European Parliament and other country leaders needed, i.e, that people were serious about believing that things were going to far and too fast in interfering with domestic matters of the countries within the EU. He also said to that Cameron's decision to step down was very much in the spirit of Cameron's career. "He fought in a very honest manner and put everything into his battle. "

Benediktsson added that the Icelandic government will do everything they can to keep foreign relations between Iceland and Britain on good terms. He added that Britain's vote would obviously have a great influence on Iceland's possible entry into the EU in the future. 

"In my mind it's an even more distant idea following this result as the whole European cooperation is now being reassessed. "

Related stories: Politics in Iceland, a beginner's guide




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