At a ceremony in Stockholm on Thursday the Foreign Minister of Iceland, Össur Skarphedinsson, formally presented his country’s application for the European Union to the Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt (Sweden presides over the EU these six months).
It was after a lengthy debate that the Icelandic Parliament a week earlier voted by 33 against 28 to apply for membership of the EU. The negotiations are likely to take several years and will then be followed by a referendum.
It will be interesting to see how the Icelandic application will influence the EU question here in Norway. If Iceland joins the European Union, Norway will be left alone with Liechtenstein in the EEA, but opinion polls show a significant majority of the Norwegian opposed to EU membership and the question is also likely to tear apart almost any possible coalition government.
The photo shows Icelandic flags being flown together with the Swedish and EU flags outside the Swedish Foreign Ministry on Thursday.