An associate fellow for the Centre for European Reform says that if Iceland wants to join the European Union, then it must stop whaling. Iceland is currently in accession talks with the EU, with agricultural and fishing issues at the forefront of negotiations. Writing on the think tank’s blog, associate fellow Stephen Tindale argues that the EU could be flexible with Iceland on certain areas, but when it comes to fishing and whaling, they should stand firm:
On whaling, the Commission should not move at all. In 2006 Iceland resumed commercial whaling of fin whales and minke whales. Thus it joined Norway in defying the international moratorium on commercial whaling. Iceland has always caught some minke whales for “scientific research”. So the 2006 decision made little practical difference on minke – it simply represented Iceland becoming more open about its reasons for whaling. But it did represent a restart of fin whale hunting. Fin whales are an endangered species. Iceland maintains that there are enough fin whales in Icelandic waters for a small catch to be sustainable. This may or may not be correct, but is anyway not relevant to EU negotiations. EU law prevents the killing of any whales, even those which (like minke) are relatively numerous. EU law is based partly on the need to protect biological diversity, but partly also on the need to prevent animal suffering. Being killed by harpoons is a particularly painful, and often slow, way for an animal to die.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle believes accession talks with Iceland could be complete in 2013. At this time, it will be up to the Icelandic people to decide whether or not they want to join.
At last count, there were 326,340 people living in Iceland. That’s .0045% of the world’s population and while it isn’t really a competition, this has created a bit of an inferiority complex among some Icelanders who, as Grapevine writer Oddur Sturluson put it, “find it nothing short of scandalous that their small, unarmed country doesn’t have as much political pull as some of their larger, more powerful neighbours.” To compensate, Oddur argued, Icelanders “invented something brilliant in its simplicity and devastating in its effectiveness…The Per Capita Record.” This, he explained, is “quite simply when Iceland does something noticeable, compared to
Cat owner Vífill Garðarson may need to put his cat Panda down after someone shot him with an air rifle, reports Vísir. Earlier this week Vífill’s neighbour came across Panda lying motionless in his garage and called Vífill to come pick up the cat, but Panda did not run to his owner as he is prone to do. “He just lay there, completely still so I had to pick him up and carry him home,” said Vífill. “When I put him down on the ground again he couldn’t stand up so I rushed him to the veterinary hospital.” Initially the
An estimated 3000 people attended an anti-war “die in” in central Reykjavík yesterday protesting Israeli air raids on Gaza, reports Vísir. At the protest over 600 people lay down on the ground to represent the recent civilian deaths in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Speakers included Reykjavík Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson and Sveinn Rúnar Hauksson. At the end of the protest participants walked to Iceland’s Government Offices to hand off a memorial wreath with the names of over 600 Palestinian victims written on it. The wreath was given to Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson. Yesterday Sigmundur confirmed that he had sent an official letter to
A group of Icelanders are aiming to have the country brought under the administration of the Norwegian government as “Norway’s 20th county”. The group in question, Fylkisflokkurin (“The County Party”), already has just over 1,200 members at the time of this writing. The group, formed by director of the National Center of Addiction Medicine (SÁÁ) and former Fréttablaðið editor Gunnar Smári Egilsson, purports in their mission statement that they aim for “the re-uninfication of Iceland and Norway”, wherein “the Norwegian government would constitutionally protect and promote Icelandic culture while Icelanders would enjoy all the same rights as Norwegians.” “Iceland is
An ongoing labour dispute that has most directly affected the tourist industry has been resolved. The Air Mechanics Union of Iceland (FVFÍ) has signed a collective bargaining agreement with Icelandair ehf., Vísir reports. The new contract will be in effect until August 31, 2017. As reported, air mechanics have over the summer pushed for higher wages and better working conditions, culminating in temporary work shut-downs. While some of these work stoppages lasted no more than a few hours, this was enough to prompt the cancellation of flights during the height of tourist season. Interior Minister Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir proposed passing
Epidemiologists say that there are no examples of ticks in Iceland carrying either Lyme Disease nor tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). MBL reports that neither of these diseases have been reported to be present in ticks in Iceland. Nonetheless, the Directorate of Health has laid out some helpful tips about ticks and how to deal with them. The Directorate of Health advises the general public to acquaint themselves with what ticks look like and where they can be found. If venturing into tick-risk areas, a person should cover their skin as much as they can, using common bug repellent on exposed parts