Iceland’s marathon debate over joining the European Union is nearing the finish line, with parliament preparing to put the issue to a vote.
Should the motion succeed in the 63-seat Althing, the government intends to put the final say to a referendum. Traditionally Euro-sceptic, Iceland has warmed to the EU since its economy fell apart last year. But opposition remains strong, particularly over fears about the impact on fishing, the island’s main industry, and the vote is expected to be close. Debates in parliament have been hard-fought and long-running, often not finishing till midnight. Some MPs are deeply unhappy about a deal to repay Britain and the Netherlands the billions investors lost in the collapse of Iceland’s banking system.