James Joyner writes about Iceland’s continued march to EU membership. This is brought about in part because the financial meltdown has made EU membership look better on the merits, in part because the financial meltdown has brought left-wing parties to power, and in part because the financial meltdown has just changed public opinion. Still, mass opinion is rarely all that Europhilic and there remains some chance that the public will reject accession in a referendum. EU leaders, meanwhile, seem to be welcoming the idea of expansion to a tiny rich country after so many contentious fights about the accession of medium-sized medium-income Eastern European countries.
The EU has a ton of problems, running the gamut from a nutty decision-making structure to the fact that voters seem to hate it. But when you step back and think about it, it’s really an enormous human achievement relative to where things were 60 or 70 years ago or to what anyone would have thought possible back then. And for all its problems, the EU keeps moving by fits and starts to become both broader and deeper and I see no real reason to think either trend will actually reverse. Most likely, some of the problems will get resolved and that, combined with generational turnover, will build a more EU-friendly public in the future.