Iceland abandoned its EU membership bid amid a recovering economy that grew by 2.4% this quarter and an unemployment rate which fell to less than half the EU average. The sudden and dramatic improvement from one of the worst hit by the recession makes Iceland stand in stark contrast to the ailing nations of the EU which are still afflicted with non-existent growth and ever worsening living standards. This move a represents the loss of confidence in the EU.
Little surprise, the membership bid was unpopular with the Icelandic public from the start (only 25% supported it). The prospect of getting embroiled in the Euro debt crisis, and the need to control their natural resources prompted withdrawal from talks by the new centre-right coalition that won the election this April.
The fact that Iceland successfully managed its economic recovery on their own while policies from Brussels did little to improve the fortunes of Italy, Greece and Spain, is a lesson that will not be lost on anyone in the continent. The EU is half the British export market and gradually falling, but trade with countries outside the EU is booming, particularly developing nations like China. Being shackled to the EU will not serve Britain’s economic interests in the long run.
Abandoning the EU bid illustrates how public confidence in the European project is depleting across Europe, and the trading bloc is no longer seen as a necessity to ensure future prosperity. It is a loudest signal in years that the policies of Brussels are seen as incompetent and detrimental to running a healthy economy.
Just as Iceland said ‘no thank you’, it is time for the Great British Public to deliver a hearty ‘goodbye’ to Brussels.