From Iceland — What Are Icelanders Talking About?

What Are Icelanders Talking About?

Published April 26, 2019

What Are Icelanders Talking About?
Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Mark J Sebastian/Wikimedia Commons

Arguably the most talked-about topic in Icelandic social media these days is the so-called third energy package. In the simplest possible terms, it’s a European Union energy policy devised in 2009 that is also supposed to include EEA countries, amongst them Iceland. As with anything else involving Iceland’s relationship with the EU, it has prompted some very loud populist voices to insist that country would effectively be forced to surrender its sovereignty to the whims of Brussels, and there has been a lot of misinformation being bandied about. But the most compelling aspect of the discussion is how little people seem to know what the package entails, a sentiment repeatedly voiced across social media. In truth, the package will likely mean very little for Iceland. Even the proposed sea cable that could extend from Iceland to mainland Europe is still in the idea stage and likely many, many years down the road. For the time being, the most common opinion about the energy package remains “oh my god I am so sick of hearing about the third energy package”.

On the lighter side, there was much cause for jubilation when Iceland (the country) won a trademark dispute against Iceland (the supermarket) over the use of the name “Iceland.” The dispute dates back many years, beginning when the supermarket chain began to target Icelandic businesses who dared put the word “Iceland” on exports originating here, with the supermarket insisting that they had trademarked “Iceland” for itself. In the end, the European Union Intellectual Property Office had the final say, and sided with the country, pointing out that the country has been around since the 9th century, while the supermarket has only been using the name since 1970. That, and you can’t really trademark the name of a sovereign nation for your own private business. That said, the supermarket has until June 5 to appeal, so who knows? Perhaps a victory dance is premature. Time will tell.

Finally, Icelandic pet owners have been either celebrating or hotly contesting the possibility that Iceland may relaxed its strict pet import laws, which normally require anyone bringing a dog or cat to Iceland to leave the animal in quarantine for four weeks, and attempts to sneak it past customs punishable by the animal’s death at the owner’s expense. The Icelandic Kennel Club was delighted at the possibility, but others have expressed trepidation. After all, the island’s animal life has been isolated for a very long time, and the fear of foreign contagion persists. However, as a study on the matter found, this is also the case for Australia and New Zealand, who require only 10 days of quarantine. Icelandic pet owners wait with bated breath for the government’s next move.

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