The European Commission on 24 February 2010 gave the green light for fast-track negotiations with Reykjavik to admit Iceland into the European Union."The ball is now in court of the government of the 27 EU-member states," which must unanimously approve opening the talks, writes Le Soir. A member of the European Economic Area, Iceland is seeking to join the EU in 2012, when Croatia is also expected to become a member. "However," the Belgian Daily continues, "The same financial sector collapse that abruptly triggered Iceland's move towards Europe could also complicate that effort."
Icelanders will go to the polls on 6 March 2010 to vote on a referendum concerning the repayment of €3.8 billion owed to the UK and the Netherlands in the wake of Iceland's financial meltdown. Le Soir says the referendum is "likely to be rejected, given the hostility shown by the country's 320,000 inhabitants for a related law that barely passed Iceland's parliament in January. "There is no doubt that London and The Hague will be in no hurry to start membership talks if the referendum is voted down," says *Le Soir*.
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