Iceland has moved a step closer to membership in the European Union after parliament approved a controversial measure to apply for membership by a narrow margin of 33 votes to 28 with two abstentions. The European Union (EU) accepted Iceland's application to join the bloc only one week after Iceland submitted the application.
The move to join the EU was not without some debate within Iceland’s government. Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir pushed for approval while detractors pointed to the possibility such membership could hurt the fishing industry. Sigurdardottir gained supporters following the collapse of Icelandic banks last year and has stressed the importance of moving towards adopting the euro as the country’s currency to stabilize the economy.
Iceland is already a member of the European Economic Area and the border-free Schengen zone, meaning that its legislation is already in line with EU rules in many areas. Analysts say that that should make accession negotiations on most subjects relatively easy.