Iceland's industry turns against EU membership

New opinion poll was published yesterday produced for The Federation of Icelandic Industries (Samtök iðnaðarins) by Capacent Gallup among the members of the federation. That is among the leaders of the businesses which are members of the federation.

The Federation of Icelandic Industries has for a long time been a strong supporter of an Icelandic membership of the European Union and it has been the stronghold of those in favour of membership in Iceland's business community.

However, according to the poll 58.7 percent of the members of the federation are now opposed to EU membership and only 27.4 percent in favour. Last time similar poll was produced in February-March 2007 43.4 percent wanted membership against 39.3 percent which rejected it. The change is therefore enormous.

Asked how they would vote in a referendum on EU membership 68.8 percent said they would reject membership. Of those 53.1 percent said they would definitely say no. The rest said they would probably do so. 31.2 percent said they would support membership but only 15.1 percent of those said they would definitely say no.

The poll now also finds that 45 percent oppose the euro while the 36.5 percent favour adopting it in one way or another. In February-March 2006, last time the members of the federation were asked this question, 61.1 percent wanted to adopt the euro while 26.1 percent did not.

Finally the poll found that 50 percent thought it would be bad for Iceland's economy to join the EU while 33.7 percent thought it would have good influence. In February-March 2007 54.7 percent thought EU membership would be good for the country's economy.

Iðnaðurinn á móti aðild að ESB (Mbl.is March 29, 2012)
The results of the poll (in Icelandic)

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Joining the EU in "total turmoil"

"Joining the European Union is in a total turmoil - simply because the support for it keeps decreasing. Europe is in an economic and political crisis and is not getting out of it anytime soon. It is now clear that the negotiations with the EU will not be finished before the next general elections and then we may have a government which is entirely against EU membership. It would be strange to have a membership agreement in the hands but no government to recommend it."

This was written on March 21 this year by Egill Helgason, a prominent talk show host at the Icelandic state broadcaster which has been known for talking positively about an Icelandic EU membership.

Yesterday the Icelandic Foreign Minister, Össur Skarphéðinssin, said at a meeting with the Icelandic Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs that he thought that the membership negotiations with the EU would not be finished before the next general elections which will be at the latest in the spring of 2013.