EU accession bill reaches Iceland parliament

iceland-coat-of-armsThe expected bill on Icelandic accession talks with the European Union was submitted to the Icelandic parliament yesterday. The bill is nearly identical to the original bill proposal the Foreign Ministry presented to the cabinet in the middle of May.

The bill asks parliament to grant the government authority to begin accession talks with the EU under the explicit understanding that the nation will be able to vote on the final treaty of accession in a referendum, reports.

Independence Party vice-chairman Thorgerdur Katrin Gunnarsdottir said that the government should not be allowed to force the bill through parliament with ease, saying her party favours thorough and reasoned parliamentary debate on the issue.

Meanwhile Left Green MP and head of parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Arni Thor Sigurdsson said that hopefully his fellow party members will vote on the issue as they each see fit. “There are differing opinions in our (traditionally anti-EU membership, ed.) party,” he said.

Sigurdsson said he believes his party’s MPs, forming one of the two coalition government partners, will not try to hold up the bill: “We want instead to ensure a good quality discussion of the issue in parliament.”

Included in the bill is a clause promising that the authorities will refrain from openly backing or holding against the final treaty when it comes to be voted on by the public.

The bill is expected to be debated during the next week.

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