Tuesday, July 20, 2004

A message from Iceland

Rather like the Borg, in Star Trek – whom some people still believe are fictional - the European Unionites will not tolerate dissension or, worst still, independence. "You will be assimilated – resistance is futile" is the Borgs’ chilling cry, but it could equally belong to the EU.

And one of the targets of these assimilators are the Icelanders, who are constantly barraged with "invitations" to join "Europe.

Not a few Icelanders resent what they feel to be the arrogant assumption that the European Union is "Europe", not least Hjörtur J. Guðmundsson, a board member of Heimssýn, the broad-political association of Icelandic Eurosceptics, and co-editor of heimssyn.is
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He wrote a short article on the subject a few months ago in Icelandic and published it in one of the biggest newspapers in Iceland.  In the wake of that, he translated it into English and offered it to this Blog, with the title: "Joining Europe?" We reproduce it below.

When exactly did Iceland cease to be a geographical part of Europe? I have sometimes wondered about this question when hearing some Icelandic Europhiles preach that Iceland must join Europe as soon as possible.

Naturally these speculations have been more in nature of jest than seriousness. People probably have to be quite ignorant not to be able to see the difference between the European Union as such and Europe, beside the fact that the EU has nothing to do with it whether Iceland, or any other country, is considered a part of Europe or not.

But in spite of these obvious facts this remains as one of the essentials in the propaganda of the European Union and its supporters. According to this many associations of Europhiles are called for instance "Britain in Europe", "Sweden in Europe", "Estonia in Europe", etc. Therefore the inevitable question comes to mind why these associations are not called "Britain in the EU", "Sweden in the EU" etc.? After all that would be far more demonstrative.

The reason for all this, however, is really not complicated. The Europhiles simply realise, just as most people, that the European Union does not enjoy a particularly positive appeal to large part of its citizens and also the majority of the public in certain member states. That has been seen clearly in national referendums and opinion polls in the last years. Therefore the Europhiles find themselves forced to use something else as a bait which they consider more fortunate – and there Europe comes into the picture.

In the wake of this, the Europhiles harp on the nonsense that by staying outside the EU the relevant countries are also staying outside Europe. Yet, them saying that if, on the other hand, they join the Union they are also joining Europe is ridiculous as it sounds.
 
Clearly, some Icelanders understand the difference between "Europe" as a continent, and the "European Union" as a political system.  The Europhiles should not be allowed to confuse the two.

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