It is chilly in Reykjavik, only 6 degrees right now. And as all of us know, the Icelandic economy has frozen up, badly. It is so bad that even the president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso sent out a statement regarding Iceland tonight (I can’t find it online yet, I got it through the Commission’s press service on email). It is very seldom we hear anything about Iceland from the EU. Here are some of his main points:
These problems (financial crisis) need to be addressed bilaterally with Member States concerned, in line with the respective obligations under the EEA Agreement. There are also useful contacts underway with international organisations, which we support. The Commission stands ready to help Iceland and facilitate co-operation wherever possible.
The always online Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, also mentioned Iceland in his blog yesterday, with these words:
Mot slutet av vår middagsdiskussion kom vi också in på Islands i dag så utsatta situation. Vi skulle vilja göra mera för att hjälpa – av både strategiska och moraliska skäl. Men Islands position utanför EU gör att vi inte har de instrument vi skulle vilja ha. Tyvärr.
Olav Anders Øvrebø asked in this blog post yesterday why the Nordic countries haven’t presented a financial rescue package to Iceland, but reading the news stories about Iceland these days, it is hard to find out what has been offered or not, and whether Iceland is refusing Nordic help or not.
Here are some of the recent articles (both in English and Norwegian):
- The Icelandic central bank borrows 400 million krone (23 million euro) from Norges Bank (Iceland has the same agreement with Sweden and Denmark)
- Iceland asks for help from IMF
- Europe have ignored Iceland’s cry for help
- Britain is bullying Iceland
- Iceland has not asked Norway for financial help
- Iceland says it will borrow 4 billion euro from Russia
- The bad timing of the annoncement of the possible Russian loan
- Bank of England lends 128 million euro to it’s Icelandic counterparts
- Possible short time loan from Japan
- Norwegian krone Iceland’s new currency?
- Iceland can become EU member within less than a year.
So has Iceland received a cold shoulder from its neighbours? That might be the case, actually. But from which neighbours? We don’t know. Geir Haarder, Iceland’s prime minister, has been quoted by EUobserver for saying “In a situation like that, one has to look for new friends”.
Still, Iceland seems more eager on an EU membership then ever before. I have previously written about Iceland’s love for the euro.