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.
After failed attempts at negotiations with State authorities, surgeons at the national university hospital Landspítalinn will vote, later this week, on a potential strike. The strike action would commence in two weeks and postpone 150 operations each week. 5,000 people currently await operation, according to RÚV. In case of a strike, surgeons would still do emergency operations. Minister of Healthcare, Kristján Þór Júlíusson, has said that he supports the surgeons’ demands and will discuss the matter with Minister of Finance, Bjarni Benediktsson.
Healthcare Minister Kristján Þór Júlíusson has proposed that the State sell some assets to finance the construction of new hospital building. In a radio interview broadcast by RÚV Wednesday morning, he stated: “We should proceed by transferring assets that belong to Icelanders in common to another form of ownership, in order to be able to reconstruct our national hospital, as everyone agrees we must do.” As journalist Jóhann Hauksson already pointed out, in pre-2008 Icelandic, ‘transferring assets to another form of ownership’ would have been simply called privatization. The Minister evaluates State assets at a total neat 1,000 billion ISK,
Former Prime Minister of Iceland, Geir H. Haarde, has landed a pivotal ambassadorial post in Washington D.C, reports RÚV. Geir is most known for being prime minister during Iceland’s 2008 economic meltdown. In 2010, parliament voted in favour of Geir standing trial for negligence and mismanagement while in office. Geir was eventually found guilty of one of the four charges of negligence levied against him. As reported, the charge was that he either knew or should have known that he had to respond in some way to the information he had been receiving that the economy was unstable. Prosecutor Sigríður
Iceland, considered a global leader in gender equality, has announced it will send only men to a U.N. conference on women and gender equality, reports ABC. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson told the U.N. General Assembly of world leaders on Monday that the January “barbershop” conference will be unique, “as it will be the first time at the United Nations that we bring together only male leaders to discuss gender equality.” It won’t however, be the first time in history that male leaders get together to discuss women’s issues, without any women present. According to Gunnar Bragi, the
The chairperson of parliament’s Tax and Economics Committee believes the Icelandic government should buy evidence of tax evasion, a sample of which has already been offered to authorities. RÚV reports that Frosti Sigurjónsson, a Progressive MP and the chairperson of the Tax and Economics Committee, believes the government should pay to receive only legal documentation of Icelanders evading taxes. If the documents were illegally obtained, he added, this detail would certainly “complicate” matters. “If it’s true what I’ve heard, that the Germans have gone this way, buying this kind of information, than I believe we have no choice but to
The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police confirms there is no evidence that any Icelanders have joined forces with the theocratic extremist group ISIS. Vísir reports that they sent a formal inquiry to the police on the matter, and were informed that – to the best of anybody’s knowledge – no Icelandic citizens have joined forces with ISIS. As far-fetched as the possibility may sound, European Union anti-terrorism chief Gilles de Kerchove told the BBC that over 3,000 EU citizens have already joined ISIS. Closer to home, Vísir adds that at the beginning of the summer, Danish secret services revealed