Last week, after lengthy discussion, the Icelandic parliament voted to apply for EU membership. Today, their Foreign Minister was in Stockholm – because the Swedes currently hold the rotating presidency of the EU – to make their formal application.
The next step will be for the EU to approve the application, and entry talks could start next spring. Then the ball will be passed over to the Icelandic people in the shape of a referendum. Whether or not the country will actually join the EU however, is far from being a foregone conclusion. Iceland is traditionally sceptical about joining the EU and some fear that EU fishing quotas could harm the Icelandic fishing industry. On the other hand, the Icelandic banking meltdown last year has resulted in some warmer feelings towards the EU. Either way, the earliest date that Iceland could realistically join the EU would be in 2013.