After spending three days in Reykjavik and the northern town of Akureyri, just below the Arctic Circle, I am starting to get the feeling that Iceland’s entry into the European Union is anything but guaranteed. I have met government ministers and officials who are eager to steer their country into the EU. But I have met a fairly wide range of private sector businessmen, teachers, students and other Icelanders who are either flatly opposed or at best non-committed.
The most passionate opposition I’ve encountered has come from representatives of the powerful fisheries industry and the less powerful but politically influential agricultural lobby. Here’s what the manager of the national dairy farmers’ association said: “If we entered the EU, our tariffs would have to go. Our home market share would drop by 25 to 50 per cent. The number of farmers would drop by 60 to 70 per cent. EU membership would deal us a tremendous blow, there’s no doubt about it.” Read more