Sunday, March 15, 2015

Is Iceland still a democracy?

The Icelandic Government chose to ignore their constitutional duty to get permission and consult with the national Parliament about the letter they sent the Foreign Affairs Minister to deliver on a secret mission to: Dear Edgars and Dear Commissioner Hahn about ending Iceland's EU bid. The thing is that the EU bid is based on a parliamentary resolution and the only way to cancel the resolution is to bring forward a new one and get it adopted via the parliament.

In order to clarify this attempt to bypass our democratic rule, the minority parties in the Icelandic parliament created a new letter explaining that the Government can't do this unless a new form of governance is now the rule in Iceland, and as far as I am concerned we are still a democracy, not a dictatorship.

Here is the letter we sent to Edgars and Hahn:

"The Government of 2009-2013 lodged an application to join the EU on the basis of a mandate given by the Althingi in a resolution of 16 July 2009, with the support of MPs from all political parties.
The accession process was slowed down two months before the elections in April 2013. The current Government then “paused” the accession process when it took office in May 2013 and stated that the process would not continue unless the people would decide so in a referendum. No such referendum has been held. The Government presented a proposal for a resolution mandating the withdrawal of the application to the Althingi in February 2014. In spite of its strong parliamentary majority, the Government could not get the proposal passed in the face of widespread public opposition and calls by more than 20% of the population for a referendum to be held. The proposal was debated in first reading, but not passed to second reading by the Foreign Affairs Committee.

As a result, the only mandate approved by the Althingi on the application remains the original mandate to apply for membership from 16 July 2009. The legal authority behind the application is therefore unchanged.

The letter by Foreign Minister Sveinsson of 12 March 2015 describing “the firm position of the Government that Iceland should not be regarded as a candidate country for EU membership“ has not been discussed with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Althingi, as is required by law for major foreign policy decisions. The letter has been kept secret from the public and not debated in the Icelandic Parliament. Therefore it cannot be considered to change the existing position of the Althingi from 16 July 2009 and can only be considered to be a description of the political position of the current government.


The parties of the opposition have different views regarding membership of the EU. However all four parties agree that the letter in question cannot change the status of Iceland vis-à-vis the EU in line with the long-standing principles of the European legal order respecting the primacy of formal Parliament resolutions over simple government statements and that it is only for the Althingi to decide to change that status."

So please ignore the embarrassment of the Icelandic ruling parties, they know what they are doing, but it still doesn't mean it is legal nor that is has any form of meaning except as a way to please a handful of powerful people within their own parties. 

Majority of the Icelandic people want to have a national referendum on if we should finish the bid so that when the vote for joining the EU or not will be executed, the YES or NO will be based on facts not speculations and those facts are not available unless the bidding process with its negotiations is over. 



2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Þakkir fyrir gott blogg á fínni ensku. Gott að vísa í það til að vinir erlendis geti skilið hvað sé að gerast hér í okkar undarlega samfélagi. Anna María

EmmBod said...

Takkk Birgitta