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Iceland doesn't want European Union

Staff writer |
Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson announced that Iceland is planning to attempt to withdraw its bid for membership in the EU.

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The Icelandic government deems its participation in talks to join the EU no longer valid.

Iceland's governing parties, the Independence Party and the Progressive Party, have decided to withdraw the country's application for EU membership. According to Icelandic law, parliament must also approve the country's withdrawal from talks. The Parliament is expected to discuss the issue this week.

Iceland applied for EU membership on July 16, 2009 when the global economic crisis rocked the public, with negotiations later beginning on July 27, 2010. Since that time, 27 chapters of the acquis have been opened and 11 thereof have been provisionally closed.

Iceland joined the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) in 1970 and has been a member of the European Economic Area since its establishment in 1994. It is also part of the Schengen Zone.

In 2009, Iceland sought to become a member of the EU as a result of its economic woes that began in 2008. After its recovery, however, Iceland saw a rise in anti-European attitudes. The public is largely thought to believe that they no longer need the EU.

In February 2012, 56.2 percent of Icelanders were against EU membership according to a poll held by the University of Iceland's Social Sciences Research Institution. This rate increased to 67.5 in 2014.

The decision to withdrawal from EU negotiations is not the first of its kind in Iceland. The government set out to withdraw from the EU accession process in 2013, yet the policy was not pursued due to public protests and parliamentary opposition.

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