The EU learns about fishing and banking from tiny Iceland

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission (on the right), received Sigmundur Davíd Gunnlaugsson, Icelandic Prime Minister. (EC Audiovisual Services, 16/07/2013 ).

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission (on the right), received Sigmundur Davíd Gunnlaugsson, Icelandic Prime Minister. (EC Audiovisual Services, 16/07/2013 ).

Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, the Prime Minister of Iceland, visited the European Union yesterday and was received by its two presidents. The Icelander first went to the Berlaymont, the Commission’s  headquarters. There he was rather surprised. It was the first time that Manuel Barroso was so blatant, almost rude, with a visiting PM. Commenting on the pending until September discussion in Iceland’s Parliament over a possible withdrawal of the country’s EU membership application, the President of the Commission said: “the clock is ticking, and it is also in the shared interest of us all that this decision is taken without further delay”.

However, it was not only the most probable withdrawal of Iceland’s EU membership application that made Barroso furious. Some minutes before their joint Press conference, Gunnlaugsson had stopped only one step away from declaring a ‘mackerel war’ against the EU. Let’s fish in this.

The war of fish

The European Union accuses Iceland of overfishing the mackerel stocks in the North East Atlantic. The island country almost laughs with this, actually challenging the EU’s scientific calibre and questioning its honesty. Not to forget that fishing is the lifeline of Iceland. On many occasions during the past decades a number of European countries like Britain and Ireland have declared ‘troller wars’ against Iceland’s fishermen. In the 1970s and the 1980s Iceland fought with Britain and the European Union the ‘cod war’ over the fishing rights of this delicious bite.

This was not a small thing at all. Peaceful but stubborn Icelanders reciprocated and defended successfully their fishing rights, which are vital for their existence in the frozen island. Now Iceland is ready to reciprocate if the European Union decides to impose sanctions on the island for allegedly overfishing the mackerel stocks. Ireland for example asks for very severe sanctions going as far as blocking Iceland altogether.

Banking lessons

But it’s only the fish that make the EU dignitaries angry with the Icelanders. In the peak of the western credit crunch, the tiny island state ridiculed the entire Union and the European Central Bank because against their will allowed all its banks to go bankrupt. Consequently Iceland didn’t pay their debts. Let’s follow the money.

In September 2008 Iceland ignored the dictums of the ECB and the Commission and let its own three major banks go bankrupt. Then it denied reimbursing the British, the Dutch and other European depositors. Iceland didn’t nationalise its three banks (Kaupthing, Landsbanki and Glitnir) as Ireland and other EU countries did. Consequently, the Icelandic Republic and its people were not obliged to pay for the blunders, the imprudence and the greed of bankers.

Back to fishing

Going back to fishing the Icelanders are accustomed to the jealousy mainly of the Irish and the British for their abundant fish stocks. Now it’s the entire European Union and Commissioner Damanaki who threaten the tiny island country with sanctions for allegedly overfishing the mackerel. The Commissioner will reportedly decide within this month on the kind of sanctions to be imposed on Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

In view of that, according to Ireland’s National Television and Radio Broadcaster, RTÉ, Iceland’s PM told Barroso yesterday that his country “had been dedicated to sustainable fishing for decades and it was now possible to see the results of that”. This obviously means ‘no lessons  taken from EU’.

Gunnlaugsson however went further and suggested that, “Iceland may be able to ‘assist’ the EU with its approach, increase fish numbers and boost the value of European fisheries tremendously”. Seemingly it was this statement that made Barroso furious. The tiny island that gave a good lesson to the EU on banking now comes again and proposes another one in fishing. It’s like the Icelanders are avenging the EU and the European Central Bank for what they did to them, when their country decided not to redeem the EU depositors in the Icelandic banks.

Presumably the tiny Iceland is about to humiliate the EU once more. Banking and fishing might not be connected in any way but in this case the European Union will learn the hard way that others can do better in both.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Central Africa Republic: Violence drives thousands of refugees into neighbouring DR Congo, says UN agency

Local innovation, international impact: SMEs and the ITU Telecom World Awards

Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Ming At the Reception in Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China

ECB ready to counter the rise of the euro?

How can entrepreneurship tackle the migration crisis in the EU?

Cutting money transfer fees could unlock $15bn for developing countries. Here’s how

EU-US trade war: Will Trump take advantage of WTO’s decision leading to ominous economic growth?

MEPs unanimously condemn recent terrorist attacks in France and Austria

How technology is leading us to new climate change solutions

Is a full course lunch, a new Commissioner and 2 million anti-TTIP citizens what you would call a “Fresh Start”?

Multilateralism more vital than ever, as World War centenary looms: Security Council

The Ukrainian crisis to destabilize Europe and the world for a long time

Kids who live in the countryside have better motor skills, a study in Finland has found

Conflict prevention, mediation: among ‘most important tools’ to reduce human suffering, Guterres tells Security Council

How global food safety protects the planet and begins on the farm

Preventing and resolving conflicts must form ‘backbone’ of collective efforts – UN chief

Who should pay for workers to be reskilled?

The British “nonsense”, the relaxed Commissioner and the TTIP “chiaroscuro” at this week’s Council

Women’s work faces the greatest risk of automation, says new research

EU finally agrees on target for 40% greenhouse emission cuts ahead of Paris climate talks

Ambassador Zhang wishes from Brussels great success and prosperity for the China-EU relations in the Year of the Dog

Children of ISIL terrorists likely held in ‘secret detention facilities’, UN human rights office warns

FIFA and UN kick off healthy living campaign, to harness global game’s ‘huge potential’

UN Security Council hails ‘courage’ of Afghan voters

EU free-trade agreements with Canada and US: imagine the fallout if put to national referendums

Industrial policy: recommendations to support Europe’s leadership in six strategic business areas

Zuckerberg, a paella, and the mighty EU questionnaires that would stop Whatsapp acquisition by Facebook?

This massive project in Spain is the latest milestone in Europe’s solar power boom

Why AI will make healthcare personal

Predicting two more years of economic stagnation

‘Provocative actions and inflammatory rhetoric’ destabilizing Middle East, warns top UN official

Ebola not an international ‘health emergency’ but risks spreading across DR Congo border, warns UN health agency

ECB to play down IMF’s alarms for deflation danger in the EU

‘Highly explosive’ escalation of conflict and displacement across Syria’s Idlib, says top UN official

Where are the world’s nuclear weapons?

Here are 10 of the most urgent health challenges we’ll face in the 2020s, according to WHO

UN agencies launch emergency plan for millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants

UN’s Bachelet rejects Sri Lankan official’s ‘spin’ on Human Rights Council encounter, urges reforms

Coldplay stop touring to save the world: is pop music going sustainable?

MWC 2016 LIVE: GTI shifts to phase two – 5G – after hitting milestones

Here’s how we get businesses to harmonize on climate change

Acute food insecurity ‘far too high’ UN agency warns, as 113 million go hungry

Commission refers Denmark to the Court for failing to fulfil its obligations in relation to the name “Feta”

Infringement – Commission takes Italy to Court for its incomplete regime of access to genetic resources

UN summits to urge ‘ambition and action’ on climate change, sustainable development: Guterres

Climate change is a disruptor. Here’s how to harness it for innovation

A dangerously hot climate, simmering political tensions: ‘This is not the summer of our youth,’ UN chief warns

Scientists studied microbes feeding on Antarctica’s first methane leak – here’s what they found

How is COVID-19 affecting claims handling for hurricane damage?

Here’s why leaders need to care about mental health

MWC 2016 Live: Roshan CEO opens up on Afghanistan challenges

Who really cares about the 26.2 million of EU jobless?

Switzerland to favour EU citizens in immigration quotas as the risk of a new referendum looms

Syria: WHO appeals for funding to sustain critical health care for millions trapped by conflict

Chronic illnesses: UN stands up to stop 41 million avoidable deaths per year

The Great Reset requires FinTechs – and FinTechs require a common approach to cybersecurity

Renewal of cross-border aid operation critical to northern Syria: UN relief chief

Why Africa must be ready to take the quantum leap

Violence against women a barrier to peaceful future for all

This is why attractive cities do better economically

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s