From Iceland — In Wake Of Brexit Vote, Iceland's Foreign Minister "Ready For Anything"

In Wake Of Brexit Vote, Iceland’s Foreign Minister “Ready For Anything”

Published January 16, 2019

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Foreign Minister Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson told reporters that his ministry is ready for any possible outcome where Brexit is concerned, RÚV reports.

Yesterday, UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal for Brexit was voted down by parliament in a resounding defeat, and with the UK’s exit from the European Union scheduled for March 29, it is now more unclear than ever what the country’s departure from the UK will look like, assuming the government survives a vote of no confidence.

Regardless, Guðlaugur is confident that Iceland is ready to meet any possible outcome in the days and weeks to come.

“We’ve been working on this as a point of priority for a long time now,” Guðlaugur told reporters. “We have considered more scenarios than just the exit deal. There is nothing that will catch us off guard.”

Guðlaugur says that Iceland and the UK have already worked out “the most important details”, specifically mentioning trade, air space, and the rights of citizens. The last point, at least, is common knowledge; as reported, the Ambassador to Iceland, Michael Nevin, announced on Facebook last month that the two countries have secured the residential status of UK citizens living in Iceland.

Even so, some of those working in the travel industry have expressed concerns that Brexit could have a negative impact on tourism in Iceland.

There may be particular aspects of trade that will need fine tuning, Guðlaugur conceded, but emphasised that “we are looking at things in the long term, and have more time to do so.” Despite it all, he remains optimistic.

“Members states are waking up to the idea that there could be a workable deal,” he said. “No one would benefit from an economic crash in Europe. It is quite clear that if there are obstacles, it would have very bad consequences.”

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