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Social & Political

Yesterday the Icelandic government presented its first budget proposal of this election term. Here are the highlights: Reduction in the “fishing fee” – the tax the fisheries moguls* must pay into the common coffers Reduction in the “accommodation tax” – a nominal fee that the previous government had placed on the booming tourism industry Reduction […] Read more

Emergency in the Icelandic medical sector

Last Friday, the CEO of The National University Hospital of Iceland [Landspitali], Björn Zoega, tendered his resignation. He has stalwartly remained on the front lines of the grim health care cutbacks that this country has seen in the last five years – a job I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. Needless to say, his actions have often […] Read more

Five years ago today

On September 29, 2008, EPI and I had just come home from a holiday in Croatia. He went to work, then called me just after 9 am and told me that my bank, Glitnir, had collapsed. I was speechless. Up to that time I had it had been my absolute conviction that banks were like […] Read more

So our new minister for the environment and natural resources, Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, has decided to revoke legislation for the protection of Iceland’s nature that was passed in parliament last spring, before his government took office. The legislation took four years to write, and was designed to offer stronger protection for Icelandic nature than had […] Read more

Why Iceland’s economy has not recovered

Iceland has a new news magazine called Kjarninn, which was launched by a couple of journalists who were the victim of a “purging” undertaken by the owners of Fréttablaðið a few months ago, when they disliked the way their journos were reporting news about them. Anyway, Kjarninn is apparently produced on a shoestring (though there […] Read more

Occasionally I get asked stuff on the IWR Facebook page that I feel needs to be answered publicly so that more people can see the answer [whether they, um, want to or not]. That was the case yesterday, when a question came that I decided to answer not in a message, and not even on the page itself, […] Read more

Some of you may be familiar with the quota system here in Iceland – whereby fishing rights were allocated to a group of individuals [dubbed the “quota kings” or “quota barons”] who subsequently became extremely wealthy by exploiting a natural resource that should, by rights, belong to the Icelandic nation as a whole. Initially the […] Read more

Some extremely alarming news today: the Hellisheiðavirkjun power plant is falling short of its production capacity, and the implications are dire. A bit of context: Hellisheiðavirkjun is a geothermal power plant – i.e. it harnesses steam from the ground. Those of you who have been to Iceland may well have seen it – when you drive […] Read more

The IP-PP bromance turns sour

Ah, everyone, these are farcical days in Icelandic politics. Old Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson still hasn’t formed a government, he made a decision that he would speak to the heads of all the other parties first, and of course the pundits have been having a field day interpreting just what this means. Meanwhile, the Independence Party […] Read more

What went wrong in Iceland

In the wake of yesterday’s election results, a lot of people – especially abroad – are scratching their heads, perplexed about what actually went wrong in Iceland. After all, we had a “people’s revolt” four years ago, a government took over that was supposed to change everything, and reports of Iceland’s miraculous economic recovery have […] Read more