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People will decide on EU membership, says Iceland PM

brussels bureau

People will decide on EU membership, says Iceland PM


Iceland’s prime minister has told Brussels that voters have the final say over whether their country joins the EU or not.

Accession talks were opened by the previous government but most polls show Icelanders oppose joining the bloc.

Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, Prime Minister of Iceland, said: “A decision has not been made on a date for the referendum. The next steps on the process are those that I described earlier: the reports that will be put to the Parliament this Autumn and the discussions that will result from that”.

Iceland’s fishing industry makes up 70 percent of the country’s exports. Gunnlaugsson brushed off EU allegations of overfishing in the North Atlantic after Iceland and the Faroe Islands hiked their own quotas.

José Manuel Barroso, EU Commission President, said
his officials “will explore all the possible measures to find a balanced solution and ensure sustainability. We want a negotiated agreement and therefore we can not support unilateral actions by our partner countries”.

Iceland’s other key sector, financial services, suffered a blow in the 2008 crisis with the collapse of three banks.

Now to attract more international investment, the government has promised to swiftly lift controls on currency flows that were introduced at the time to protect the krona.

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brussels bureau