Iceland PM wants nation to join EU

Other News Materials 4 February 2009 06:23 (UTC +04:00)

Iceland's new prime minister wants her country to join the European Union and adopt the euro as its official currency to help lift the Nordic nation from financial ruin, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir took office earlier this week, CNN reports.

The announcement by Johanna Sigurdardottir, 66, came just two days after she was sworn in as prime minister and a week after the Cabinet resigned in the fallout from Iceland's financial collapse. She is Iceland's first female prime minister and the world's first openly gay leader.

Iceland has been in political turmoil since October, when its currency, stock market and leading banks crashed amid the global financial crisis.

The island nation's Nordic neighbors sent billions of dollars to prop up the economy, as did the International Monetary Fund in its first intervention to support a Western European democracy in decades.

Sigurdardottir touted EU membership at a joint news conference Tuesday with Finance Minister Steingrimur Sigfusson, whose Left-Green Movement teamed up with the prime minister's Social Democratic Alliance to form the new two-party minority government.

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The Alliance party was until recently the only movement in Iceland's five-party parliament to push EU membership as a viable way to rescue Iceland's suffering economy.

However, Sigfusson and his party aren't convinced that the country should join the EU's 27 other members. Instead, he said he is considering a monetary union with Norway, meaning Iceland would adopt the Norwegian krone as its currency.

Iceland's newly instated minority government will only be in power for 80 days and elections are scheduled for April 25. Until then, no decisions about the country possibly joining the European Union will be made -- though the question could be important during the elections, Sigurdardottir's spokesman, Kristjan Kristjansson, said.