An MP of Iceland's Progressive Party, the country's leading anti-EU campaigner, said yesterday that Malta is not an independent country, but rather a semi-autonomous region of another country.

Vigdís Hauksdóttir made the gaffe in a television debate on Iceland's Channel 2, where she compared Malta to the Westman Islands, a group of small islands off the south coast of Iceland (population 4 000).

She declined to elaborate of which country Malta was a semi-autonomous region.

Icelandic media were quick to point out her mistake and to explain when Malta attained independence and joined the United Nations.

Hauksdóttir also stated that Europe was in the grip of a famine, and that the EU was in precipitous decline.

Unicef Communications Director Sigríður Víðis Jónsdótti criticised the MP for her flippant use of the word famine.

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