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Iceland: In from the cold

07-21-2009 06:51 PM CET | Politics, Law & Society

Press release from: LYMEC - European Liberal Youth

On Friday the Republic of Iceland handed in an application to join the European Union to the Swedish EU presidency. Iceland's parliament last week had backed the government's plan to begin talks to join the EU, months after a meltdown of the north Atlantic island's economy amid the global financial crisis.

LYMEC President Aloys Rigaut reacted: 'Iceland is one of Europe's oldest democracies and we can thus only welcome its EU membership application. Iceland's path to the Union may not be entirely smooth because of differences over fisheries and disputes with some Member States over accounts in failed Icelandic banks, but the fact that Iceland already is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) and has thus already adopted more than two thirds of EU legislation should facilitate the process significantly.'

The Icelandic government has stated that it will recommend EU membership to the populace - who will ultimately decide the issue by referendum.

Reacting to recent statements from the German Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, LYMEC Vice President Alexander Plahr commented: 'If Markus Ferber, head of the CSU’s members of the European parliament, openly opposes Icelandic membership in general because the EU ‘cannot play saviour to Iceland’s economic crisis’ he clearly did not understand what historical chance we now hold in our hands. In the long run, having Iceland as an EU member state will be beneficial to all Europeans. But this will only happen if we show a willingness to consider their bid instead of letting them stand in the cold.'

Before going on to add: 'Of course, as with all other enlargement candidates, there can be no automatism, Iceland has to fully comply to each and every of the necessary conditions for membership. There must under no circumstances be a ‘nordic bonus’. Furthermore, it is imperative to have the Treaty of Lisbon signed before the Union can manage to take in any new members. We thus very much look to Ireland this autumn.'

The European Liberal Youth, abbreviated as LYMEC, is a pan-European youth organisation seeking to promote liberal values throughout the EU and particularly through and as the youth organisation of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR) and its parliamentary group in the European Parliament (ALDE).

Involving about 210,000 members from all across Europe, LYMEC is made up Member Organisations (MO) and Individual Membership (IM) and it is active across the whole of the European continent. Our central aim is the creation of a liberal and federal Europe.

LYMEC Secretariat
c/o ELDR Party, Rue Montoyer 31/7, B-1000 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 237 0146
Fax: +32 2 231 1907
Email: office@lymec.eu
Website: www.lymec.eu

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