03:38 GMT +318 July 2019
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    Thousands of protesters gather in front of teh Parliament in the Icelandic capital Reykjavik on February 24, 2014 to demand a referendum amid a government bid to pull out of EU accession talks without a popular vote

    Iceland Gov’t Dropping EU Bid Unconstitutional – Former Foreign Minister

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    Iceland’s former foreign minister said that decision by the Icelandic government to drop the country’s EU bid is unconstitutional as it attempted to circumvent parliament.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova The Icelandic opposition is united in contesting the government’s decision to drop the country’s EU bid and will dispute the move next Monday, Iceland’s former foreign minister and Social Democratic Alliance parliamentarian told Sputnik Friday.

    “It [withdrawal of EU bid] will be highly contested and all the opposition is united and demanded a special meeting of the parliament,” Ossur Skarphedinsson told Sputnik.

    On Thursday, Iceland’s Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson said that he had informed Latvia, the current EU president, and the European Commission that Iceland is no longer interested in pursuing EU membership.

    Ossur Skarphedinsson said that the country’s opposition, including the Social-Democratic Alliance, the Left-Greens, the Pirate Party and Bright Future opposes the move and will not let it through parliament.

    The opposition maintains that the Icelandic government’s decision is unconstitutional and that the government is breaking the law, as the move should be approved by parliament before it goes any further.

    “In our view this is not possible according to the constitution and to the law unless parliament agrees to do that. Parliament did not at any stage consent to this,” Skarphedinsson told Sputnik.

    Ossur Skarphedinsson headed Iceland’s Foreign Ministry at the time when the EU application was submitted in 2009. Following the new government’s attempt to withdraw the application in 2013, which sparked public protests, it was agreed that it was absolutely necessary to hold a referendum on the application’s status.

    Related:

    Iceland Drops Bid for EU Membership
    Public Referendum Should Determine Iceland’s EU Membership Bid
    Iceland to Withdraw EU Application: Prime Minister
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