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Iceland warms up to idea to join E.U.

Stephen Beard Jul 16, 2009
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Iceland warms up to idea to join E.U.

Stephen Beard Jul 16, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: The parliament over in Iceland today will decide whether to apply to join the European Union. Seems, as Stephen Beard reports, Iceland’s frosty attitude to the E.U. is thawing.


Stephen Beard: Fiercely proud of its independence, Iceland resisted the lure of E.U. membership for years. But the economic meltdown has humbled the country and impoverished it.

After Iceland’s major banks collapsed last year, the currency went into freefall. The kroner has since dropped by more than a half. The cost of imports has doubled, and living standards have slumped.

Benedict Johannesson is publisher of the Icelandic Review Magazine. He says more and more Icelanders now see E.U. membership as a way out of the mess:

Benedict Johannesson: People are thinking more about taking up a new currency, take up the euro instead of the Icelandic kroner. And that can only be done by applying for membership of the European Union.

Today’s parliamentary vote won’t finally settle the issue of membership. That will be put to the people in a referendum.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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