Iceland's Parliament Votes To Join The EU

The relationship between Iceland and the European Union is currently defined through Iceland's membership of the European Economic Area (EEA), which allows the country access to the single market of the European Union (EU). On 16 July 2009, after five days of debate, the Althing voted to apply for membership in the European Union.

Iceland has no standing army. The U.S. Air Force maintained four to six interceptors at the KeflavĂ­k base, until 30 September, 2006 when they were withdrawn. Iceland supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq despite much controversy in Iceland, deploying a Coast Guard EOD team to Iraq[ which was replaced later by members of the Icelandic Crisis Response Unit. Iceland has also participated in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan and the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia. Despite the ongoing financial crisis the first new patrol ship for decades was launched on 29 April 2009.

On 1 January 2007, Romania and Bulgaria became the EU's newest members and Slovenia adopted the euro. In December of that year European leaders signed the Lisbon Treaty which was intended to replace the earlier, failed European Constitution, which never came into force after being rejected by French and Dutch voters. However, uncertainty clouds the prospects of the Lisbon Treaty's coming into force as result of its rejection by Irish voters in June 2008. On 17 July 2009, the Parliament of Iceland agreed to formally apply for EU membership and to begin talks for an agreement to be put to a referendum to the Icelandic voters.