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Friday, July 17

Iceland Votes Yes To EU

Today Iceland's Parliament voted in favor for Iceland's application to join the European Union.
During our time in Iceland we interviewed a number of people ranging from artists, government officials, think tank go-getters, to students of economics; all feeling differently about the upcoming vote concerning Iceland joining the EU.

I found this graph to be a helpful breakdown of the varying interests with in the political parties:
Political parties' stances towards membership
Group Party Position Main argument as stated on party websites
Social Democratic Alliance
Yes "We want to apply for an EU-membership and start negotiations. We will seek a national unity in this matter and use the national referendum as the highest court."[35]

Left-Green Movement
No "EU-membership would diminish the independence of Iceland even more than the EEA Agreement does and jeopardise Iceland's control over its resources."[36]
Opposition Independence Party No "The Independence Party holds that Iceland’s interests are best secured by remaining outside of the EU while conducting a close healthy relationship with it based on the contract for the European Economic Area, which opens up the internal market of the EU. A complete membership would threaten to take control over Iceland’s biggest national resources, such as the fisheries."[37]
Progressive Party Yes "..if personal and business rights were protected, especially in regard to fishing and agriculture; and if the accession talks were open and democratic."[38]
Citizens' Movement Yes [39]
No seats in the parliament Liberal Party No EU stance was decided in a party members' poll in January 2009.[40]

This is all part of our research- We will be going back to Iceland in 6-8 months to re-examine and document the changes that occur within decisions like joining the EU.
While interviewing the editor of a number of successful Icelandic publications, Benedikt Jóhannesson; he said, it is hard to say right now how the crisis has effected the general public. Changes like these take a bit of time to be implemented and their effects can take months to really be seen.

So we (Wilma's Wish) are going to bookend what we saw, heard, found on our last trip with what happens to Iceland after this massive collapse a year later. How fascinating to see what will be a historic moment not only for Iceland but also for the world.

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