Today, Theresa May suffered another humiliating defeat, after her stripped-down Brexit deal was rejected for a third time by MPs. The vote, which comes on the same day Britain was originally meant to leave the bloc, illustrates the depth of the three-year political crisis the country is going through. A long extension or a no deal Brexit on April 12 are now the most likely outcomes.
It is therefore still uncertain how, when or even if Britain will ever leave the bloc.
As MPs discuss what might happen next, newly-resurfaced interviews with Iceland and Greenland’s ministers paint a positive vision of life outside the European bloc.
Iceland is part of the European Economic Area along with Norway and Lichtenstein, which means it gets market access for fewer obligations.
The nordic country applied to join the EU in 2009 but dropped the application in 2015.
Iceland’s former fishing minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson explained in a 2016 interview how his country proved “there is a life outside” Brussels, suggesting they will never wish to join.
Mr Sveinsson suggested that Iceland is much “better off” outside the bloc and claimed a key factor in their application withdrawal was the desire to retain control of their waters.
The nation now has one of the most modern and productive fishing industries in the world.
He told the BBC: “I would never join the European Union – there is a life outside it, as we have proven.
“We have one of the biggest and one of the strongest fisheries in the world that is sustainable without any subsidies from the state.
“We don’t have to share this decision-making with anyone else.
“It would be difficult for Icelanders to control their economic and fisheries sector having the obligation to discuss it with 27 or 28 other countries.”
Greenland’s leaders have consistently said that they are satisfied with the decision to leave, suggesting the country will never wish to rejoin.
Greenland became the first and only country to leave the EEC after a referendum was held in 1982.
As part of the Danish Kingdom, Greenland had joined the bloc in 1973 but, not long after its entry, the country started fighting for independence.
In a 2013 interview with the BBC, former Prime Minister of Greenland Kuupik Kleist said life outside the EU was good, and that after a successful negotiation with the bloc, the country was left significantly better off.
He claimed the country had free access to the European markets for exports, but when asked about other exported goods, he answered with a laugh.
He said: “We don’t export anything else but the fish.
“We have regular meetings with the [European] Parliament, and the European Union is one of our international partners — an important partner, and important for trade.
“But at the moment, there’s no serious consideration for rejoining the European Union.”
Source: Read Full Article