Lawmakers in the Icelandic parliament, the Althingi, reconvened a marathon debate on Monday to decide if the Reykjavik government should formally apply for membership of the European Union.
Icelanders in the capital Reykjavík are split over EU membership
Iceland's wish to join the European Union received a setback on Sunday when five Green party members sided with the conservative opposition to block a resolution giving approval to the government proposal. The Greens have hinged their support on the coalition government giving the green light to a national referendum on EU membership.
Social Democrat Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir is opposed to idea of a referendum delaying accession talks and wants a quick vote so she can deliver Iceland's application on July 27 when Sweden's Foreign Minister Össur Skarphédinsson will be hosting a meeting of the Council of Ministers.
Sweden assumed the EU presidency on July 1 and has raised the possibility of Iceland getting favorable treatment becasue of its strong ties to the 27-member bloc.
All politicians agree that once accession talks have been concluded with Brussels, the country's 250,000 eligible voters should have the final say.
In the meantime lawmakers are locked in a bitter, long drawn-out debate with the conservative opposition concerned about Iceland's fishing rights.
Sigurdardóttir says EU membership is the best way to stabilize the island's economy after its banking industry collapsed in the autumn under the weight of the financial crisis.
The eurosceptics seem to have gained the upper hand at the moment and together with Green party defectors have a majority in parliament.
EU officials have said that, if an application is made, Iceland could probably become a full member between 2010 and 2012.
Editor: Neil King
Despite the Christian Democrats' clear victory in Saxony state elections, the CDU has a real problem. The conservatives now have competition on their right, and that's a problem, writes DW's Volker Wagener.
On September 1, 1939, German troops under Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime launched an attack on Poland. The countries’ presidents have come together 75 years later in commemoration of the event that marked the start of WWII.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended her military aid plan to northern Iraq. However, her critics accuse her not only of a poorly-timed announcement, but also going against Germany’s anti-war stance.
It was a cultural catastrophe: 10 years ago, Weimar's Anna Amalia Library caught fire. Director Michael Knoche tells DW about rescuing books with his bare hands and why a valuable Copernicus work only recently turned up.