Iceland on July 23 submitted an official application for joining the European Union. A week ago, the parliament of Iceland voted to submit the application.
The diplomatic ceremony was held at the Swedish Foreign Ministry in Stockholm, as Sweden is currently chairing the EU. Iceland was represented by Foreign Minister Oessur Skarphedinsson, Sweden – his counterpart Carl Bildt.
Now, the application for Iceland’s entry into the EU must be approved by all 27 EU member states. After that, Iceland will vote for joining the EU in a referendum. According to BBC News, the chairman of the Icelandic Parliamentary Committee for the European Union Arni Thor Sigurdsson said that even with the successful outcome of this and that vote, Iceland will join the EU no earlier than 2013.
Iceland has strong ties with Europe: the country is part of the Schengen zone and the European economic zone. However, the inhabitants of Iceland are skeptical about accession to the EU, as they fear that the fishing quotas adopted in the EU could harm the country’s fishing industry.
On the other hand, many hope that membership in the European Union will contribute to the financial recovery of Iceland, the most seriously affected European country from the crisis.