Saturday, June 19, 2010

Has the EU Lost Its Mojo?

Oz: Herbert van Rompuy

I may be reading too much into the following news story, but this seems a watershed moment. Up until now, the European Union has been the club that everybody wants to get into. It’s not just Turkey — Serbia, Bosnia, Kosovo, and other countries, even going beyond Europe proper into the Caucasus, are anxiously waiting in line to join Club Euro.

And now the people of Iceland have pulled the curtain aside and seen the silly little man fiddling with the knobs and dials. His increasingly reedy pronouncements — “I am the great and powerful Europe!” — seem to have lost their effectiveness.

According to Presseurop:
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Iceland Turns Away From EU

Meeting at the 17 June European Council summit in Brussels, the EU’s 27 member states have decided to open accession negotiations with Iceland. However, Le Figaro notes that “solid support for Reykjavik in Europe is not matched by a consensus on the EU in Iceland.” In late 2008 at the height of the crisis which brought their economy to its knees, EU membership was viewed as a lifeline by the citizens of Iceland. But now the Parisian daily reports that the situation has changed: “More than 60% of Icelanders, who are concerned about the ongoing Icesave bank dispute with London and the Hague, would vote against EU membership. Worse still,” continues Le Figaro, “a recent poll has found that 57% of the population are in favour of withdrawing the application to join the EU, and a multi-party group of MPs has recently brought a motion before parliament to scrap any further negotiations. For two thirds of the population, the 990 million krónur (€6.2 million/ £5 million) devoted to the accession budget would be better spent elsewhere…”

That’s a pretty hefty “no” vote — two-thirds of Icelanders would withdraw the application to join the EU. What happened? Did they realize that Greece and Spain are the Icesave of Europe?

Let’s hear it for Icelandic common sense!

Hat tip: C. Cantoni.


Jedilson Bonfim said...

That was so dang nice to read... And, when I think about my adopted Switzerland (from which I'm unfortunately living away at the moment), I'm 100% convinced that the Swiss Socialist Party's platform of surrender to the EU will never be accepted by most voters; aside from the bureaucratic and corrupt monster that it is, there would not be any place for the Swiss system of direct democracy in that aberration. And, when it comes to the threat that the EU poses to this unique system, I have no doubt that the SVP would make sure that as many voters as possible would fully know about what they would stand to lose by joining the EU before they headed to the polls.

Zenster said...

For two thirds of the population, the 990 million krónur (€6.2 million/ £5 million) devoted to the accession budget would be better spent elsewhere…”

It sounds like Iceland is having its own "Dutch" moment of: "Hey, these foreigners (or Muslims) want to suck down a whole bunch of our money so that they can keep sucking down a whole bunch more of our money."

Good for them. It's time that someone, Hell anyone, finally started catching on to the European Union's sick love affair with all things bureaucratic (or Muslim, for that matter).

Leos Tomicek said...

I am not quite sure about Turkey wanting to join the EU either...

Anonymous said...

Since I wanted to move to Iceland and still consider that an option, I studied its politics. There never was a big push for EU membership in Iceland. This poll is hardly different from those taken before where people were still against it and the majority in parliament was against it.

mriggs said...

There's no great insight behind this attitude. Icelanders opposed to the EU by and large simply believe it's a european empire that has at the top of its agenda the plunder of Icelandic natural resources.