Cold Comfort in Iceland?

This has been a rough week for Iceland. First, Iceland loses to Turkey and Austria for a seat on the UN Security Council. And yesterday, the International Monetary Fund along with Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Russia pledged to loan Iceland $6 billion necessary to keep its economy afloat. Still, there could be a silver lining to this from Icelanders who seek integration into the European Union.

Some Icelandic authorities have suggested that once matters stabilize, the country should give up having an independent currency, and instead either adopt the euro outright or peg the value of the krona firmly to that of the euro.

Another possibility, rejected in the past, is to join the European Union as a member nation, a proposal that Icelandic conservatives have opposed. Still, Olli Rehn, the union’s commissioner for enlargement, told Agence France-Presse on Monday that Iceland would not find it difficult to be admitted to the union.

What is interesting here is that of the countries committing to bail out Iceland, only Denmark and Sweden belong to the European Union–but even Denmark and Sweden do not use the euro as currency. Nevertheless, Iceland’s march toward integration seems to be taking one step forward. It is already a Schengen country, meaning that there is no border control between Iceland and the rest of Europe. The next step, seemingly, is to hoist the EU flag in Reykjavik.