Iceland has reaped the benefits of the European Union without actually being a member, according to the country's finance minister, who believes the U.K. could adopt a similar stance.
Wedged between the north Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean, Iceland curbed its ascension to the European Union following its economic crash of 2008. It opted to remain in the internal market – the European Economic Area (EEA) – however, which provides the free movement of goods, persons, services and capital.
"What we have at the moment is full access to the internal market so as members of the European Economic Area we already have a lot of the benefits of full membership that the European Union would give us," Bjarni Benediktsson, Iceland's finance minister, told CNBC on Tuesday.
Some in the U.K. were now looking to have a similar situation to Iceland, he added.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised a referendum on the subject in 2017 if his Conservative Party wins next year's general election.
The issue was reignited last week following a Scottish independence referendum. It sparked a debate in the U.K. regarding devolution, which some analysts believe could sway popular opinion for having more laws repatriated away from Brussels.
Fringe anti-EU parties in the U.K. have won moderate gains in local elections and the potential British exit from the EU - known as a "Brexit" - is likely to remain a hot topic in the next few years.
"(The internal market) is very helpful for our economy. I think we've reaped a lot of the benefits from being members of the internal market," Benediktsson said, but stressed it wasn't for him to say whether the U.K. should have the same.
Iceland has remained notably reluctant on EU membership because of the union's Common Fisheries Policy, as the country's economy is heavily reliant on the industry for its income.
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