WHAT´S WRONG WITH EUROPE – AND WHY DON´T YOU FIX IT?
"What´s Wrong with Europe - and by the Way - Why don´t You Fix it?" er rćđa, sem var flutt 14. sept.á ráđstefnu í Vilníus um framtíđ Evrópu. Ráđstefnan var haldin í bođi utanríkisráđherra Litáens í tilefni af ţví, ađ aldarfjórđugur er liđinn frá ţví ađ alţjóđasamfélagiđ viđurkenndi endurreist sjálfstćđi Litáens.
Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, ex Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iceland, gave this speech at a conference in Vilnius, September 14-15, 2016, sponsored by the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, Mr. Linas Linkevicius.
In 2012 – a few years after the American financial crisis had spread around the globe and morphed into the Euro-crisis – I was invited to give a keynote-speech at the Baltic Assembly here in Vilnius. On the future of Europe – what else! The title of my talk then was „What is wrong with Europe – and, by the way, why don´t you fix it?“ At the beginning of my speech I followed the academic example by enumerating a few key-concepts, to start my audience thinking. Here they are again:
Toxic loans. Insolvent banks. Unsustainable debt. Bailouts of banks. Junk ratings. Sovereign defaults. Recession. Tax havens. Market manipulation. Insider trading. Creative accounting. Moral hazard. Social contract. Inequality: 1% vs. 99%. Austerity. Plutocracy vs. democracy.
This should suffice to start you thinking. Each and every concept speaks volumes about what´s wrong with Europe. Has anything changed during the past four years? Or are we simply stuck in this mess, for which European leaders seem to have no effective solutions?
9.9.2016WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE NORDIC MODEL?
"Hvađ getum viđ lćrt af norrćna módelinu?" er rćđa, sem var flutt á málţingi sósialdemókrataflokks Litáens í tilefni af 120 ára afmćlinu.
This speech was given at the celebratory „120 year Anniversary of the Lithuanian Social-Demcorati Party in Vilnius, Sept. 9th, 2016. Mr Hannibalsson is the ex-leader of Iceland´s SDP.
31.3.2016HOW TO SAVE CAPITALISM FROM THE CAPITALISTS - AND DEMOCRACY FROM THE PLUTOCRATS?
„The market is a useful servant, but an intolerable master“(Tage Erlander, prime minister of Sweden 1946-69)
„The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartlessimage in the cult of money and the dictatorship of financial markets, which are faceless and lacking any humane goal. – Money has to serve, not to rule“. (His holiness, Pope Francis, NYT, May 2013)Q: How do you define the main characteristics of the neo-liberal creed?
15.2.2016The Transition from totalitarianism to democracy: WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE BALTIC ROAD TO FREEDOM AND POST-INDEPENDENCE EXPERIENCE?
The Baltic road to freedom signaled not only a national reawakening, but a democratic uprising as well. Those three small nations – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – wanted to restore their independent states. They had suffered more than most during and after the Second World War, having been the victims of invasion, military occupation and annexation into the USSR, as well as repeated deportations en masse
to the Gulag.
The leaders of the independence movements had therefore every reason to expect, that they would be welcomed with open arms back into the familiy of European democracies.
10.2.2016„SOLIDARITY OF SMALL NATIONS: UTOPIAN DREAM OR PRACTICAL POLITICS? The Baltic road to freedom
in the late 80s and early 90s coincided with the endgame of the Cold-War. It signifed both a national reawakening and a democratic uprising. The outside world was impressed by the emergence of powerful grassroots movements, which demonstrated their capacity to mobilize the will of the people – remember the human chain in August 1989? This was democracy in action
. The leaders of the independence movements had therefore every reason to expect, that they would be welcomed with open arms back into the family of European democracies.
But they were in for a rude awakening. Instead they were admonished for irresponsibility and even labeled as „spoilers of the peace“. They were told to behave responsibly for the greater good of all. And advised to settle for a compromise with their colonial masters, without any preconditions. Wouldn´t some form of home-rule within the USSR be good enough?
11.11.2015Those Who Dare: Iceland’s Role in Recognizing Baltic Independence
Ţessi rćđa, http://jbh.is/default.asp?ID=362
sem var flutt 19. október, s.l. viđ Stanford háskóla, birtist í vefriti ţeirrar deildar skólans, sem fćst viđ kennslu og rannsóknir á málefnum, sem tengjast Norđurlöndum og Eystrasaltsţjóđum.
Rćđunni fylgja myndir og umsagnir og ábendingar um tengiliđi viđ áhugavert og skylt efni.http://upnorth.eu/those-who-dare-icelands-role-in-recognizing-baltic-independence/
17.10.2015The Transition from totalitarianism to democracy. WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE BALTIC ROAD TO FREEDOM AND POST-INDEPENDENCE EXPERIENCE? A speech given at Tartu Collegium in Toronto in connection with The EstDocs Film Festival in October, 2015.
Let me at the outset present you with two quotations – just to start us thinking. Here is the first one:„The dissolution of the Soviet Union is the greatest geo-strategic catastrophy of the 20th century“.
From the point of view of a KGB- officer in occupied Germany, Putin
´s lament for the fate of the Soviet Union is understandable. After all, didn´t British, French and Spanish colonialists firmly believe in the civilizing mission of their empires?
Here is another quotation – perhaps a bit more intrigueing: „I appeal to you – the people of Ukraine – not to succumb to extreme nationalism, but to keep the Soviet Union together – for the sake of peace and stability“.
Who was this firm believer in the peaceful mission of the Soviet Union? Well, he was none other than the president of the United States – the founder of the Bush
dynasty – addressing the Verkovna Rada
(The Ukrainian parliament) in Kyiv in 1991, a few months before the Soviet Union ceased to exist.
4.6.2015The Baltic Road to Freedom - revisited
Introduction: Aku Sorainen – a Finn living in Tallinn – is the founder and CEO of the biggest legal service operating in all the Baltic countries and Belarus. June 4th, 2015 Aku and his partners celebrated the 20th anniversary of their highly successful partnership. Aku invited me to give a keynote-speech at the beginning of the conference on the subject: The Baltic Road to Freedom revisited - a quarter century later. The next speaker was Lieutenant General Riho Terras, commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, who dealt with „challenges in Defence and Security“ for the young Estonian Republic. Mart Noorma, founder of the first Estonian student satelite program EST-CUBE, gave an interesting talk entitled: „Who will be on Mars in 2020 and where will we be then?“ Eriks Stendzenieks, president of the Latvian Art Directors´Club in Riga, gave a hilarious talk on how the underdogs (small nations) manage to survive in the animal kingdom. All the proceedings of this remarkable conference can be viewed at http://www.sorainen.com/
3.5.2015Interview by Ilze Nagla of Latvian LTV-1
The following interview by Ilze Nagla of Latvian LTV-1 was broadcast on May 3d, 2015 in a program dedicated to the independence struggle of the Latvian poeple, because a quarter century has passed since the declaration of independence. That declaration of independence was not activated until Iceland took the initiative in giving it diplomatic recognition at a ceremony at Höfdi House in Reykjavík, August 26th, 1991.
< href="http://ltv.lsm.lv/lv/raksts/04.05.2015-islande-latvijas-neatkaribu-atzina-pirma.id48680/" target="top">http://ltv.lsm.lv/lv/raksts/04.05.2015-islande-latvijas-neatkaribu-atzina-pirma.id48680/
21.4.2015The transition from totalitarianism to democracy: WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE BALTIC POST-INDEPENDENCE EXPERIENCE?
Introduction: On April 21st I gave the following speech at a conference held in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. The theme of the conference, as well as of my keynote speech, was to seek answers to the question: What can Ukraine learn from the Baltic post-independence experience? It turned out that there is a lot to be learnt from the Baltic experience. The most important lesson is that right from the beginning the political leadership in the Baltic countries stood united – across the political barricades, left, right and center – to consolidate their fragile independence by joining the EU and to take out an insurance policy against future threats by joining NATO. This unity of purpose gave their domestic politics – despite all the turmoil and social upheaval of the most difficult transition period – the internal descipline needed to push through and stand by difficult and necessary, but unpopular, decisions. This steadfastness of purpose and long term strategy has been sadly missing in Ukraine all the time since independence.
1.4.2015Those who dare...
When Mikhail Gorbachev rose to power in 1985, his reform policy sparked an independence movement in the Baltic states. But as their cries for help were answered with silence from the international community, two small nations answered the call – Iceland and Denmark – motivated by the personal connections of their foreign ministers.
3.3.2015Why is a majority of Icelanders, according to opinion polls, opposed to Iceland´s membership of the European Union?
Meistaraprófsnemi viđ Collége d´Europe í Belgíu, Tim Gemers, valdi sér sem rannsóknarverkefni spurninguna: Hvers vegna er meirihluti Íslendinga andvígur ađild Íslands ađ Evrópusambandinu? Hann bađ mig ađ svara spurningum varđandi ţetta mál og hefur sjálfsagt beint sínum spurningum til fleiri ađila. Ţađ sem hér fer á eftir eru svör mín viđ spurningum.
A Dutch student, Mr. Tim Gemers, in the Collége d´Europe in Belgium has selected as his research theme for his Msc. thesis the question: Why is a majority of Icelanders, according to opinion polls, opposed to Iceland´s membership of the European Union? He sent me a questionnaire concerning the topic. What follows are my answers to Mr. Gemers´questions.
4.2.2015Iceland Will Not Join the European Union http://www.fairobserver.com/region/europe/iceland-will-not-join-the-european-union-54680/
24.10.2014A VIEW FROM THE HIGH NORTH. An interview with Mr. Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, former minister for foreign affairs of Iceland by Kourosh Ziabari
1. Baltic liberation and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Why did I take it upon myself to promote the cause of the Baltic nations´ restored independence in the early nineties? Because the leaders of the West at the time were not, de facto, following up on their rethoric on democracy and national self-determination. Why not? Because they had, unwisely, placed all their bets for ending the Cold War on the political fate of president Gorbachev
. Nothing should be said or done which undermined his position
. If he were to be deposed, the hardliners would come back. And there was a lot at stake
. We might return to the Cold War. That would mean the end of the peace process. Negotiations on both conventional and nuclear disarmament would be off the agenda. The peaceful reunification of Germany would no longer be possible. And the liberation of Central and Eastern Europe might be put down by force.
11.4.2014BOSSY BESSERWISSERS VS. MODEST SCEPTICS: HOW SHOULD SMALL NATIONS DESIGN THEIR EDUCATIONAL POLICIES FOR AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE?
Tartu University: Vision 2032
April 11th Tartu University convened a seminar on the future of university education during the next two decades, under the above heading: Vision 2032.
This seminar was a culmination of a research project which has lasted about a year, involving all faculties and departments of the university. Under the leadership of a co-ordinating committee, a number of inter-disciplinarian workshops have contributed their inputs. The purpose of all this is to revise the strategic concept of the University of Tartu, as well as its workplan for this period. This seminar brought in politicians, academicians, scientists and philosophers to review this work.
Originally, Siim Kallas, former PM of Estonia and currently vice-president of EU-commission, was to be among the three key-note speakers. When Mr. Kallas dropped out at short notice, Rector Volli Kalm asked me to replace him. I have been for the past weeks a research fellow at the university´s Institute of Government and Politics and a guest-lecturer.
What follows is the text of my speech at this seminar. JBH
7.1.2014IS SMALL (STILL) BEAUTIFUL?
An interview with Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson.
Introduction: Late November last year there was a multinational conference in Tallinn, where the major questions to be tackled were the following: Can small nations offer state services to their citizens at the same level of quantity and quality as bigger nations? Or will the relative cost (as a percentage of GDP) be too high – or even prohibitive? Do small nation face tough choices as to what services they are going to give priority? Although the central government in Tallinn accounts for a relatively small percentage of GDP, there is a growing debate in Estonia about increasing cost pressures concerning government expenditures.Is there such a thing as an optimal size of the public sector conducive to economic growth?
I was invited to speak at the conference and to participate in panel discussions. Eventually, for the sake of cost cutting, we settled for an interview which was posted on the conference web page in Estonian. What follows is the English text.
5.9.2013On the Icelandic Way and Capital controls
In a recent book „Ísland ehf.
auđmenn og áhrif eftir hrun“ – Iceland ltd., the Oligarchs and their Influence after the Crash – (Vaka/Helgafell, 2013) the authors, Magnús Halldórsson and Ţórđur Snćr Júlíusson, both economic analysts in the media, give an overview of the „Icelandic way“ after the crash 2008. Specifically they try to estimate the ongoing transfer of wealth and the subsequent polarization of society. In the final chapter (p.205-292) they deal with the Icelandic experience of IMF-imposed capital controls. They were meant to be a short-term fix, but have now lasted almost five years. Here are some of the highlights of their coverage:
20.6.2013IN PRAISE OF FREEDOM,Vadovu Klubas: 15 year anniversary, Church of St. John´s Vilnius University, June 6th, 2013
On June 6th "Vadovu Klubas" - an association of business leaders in Lithuania - celebrated their 15 years anniversary in St. John´s Vilnius University. The president of Lithuania, Dalija Grypauskaité - a former Minister of Finance and commissioner of finance - addressed the assembly. I was invited to give a key-note speech on the " Peaceful, Baltic Road to Freedom" and the response to it by the international community.
Since capitalists worldwide are this year celebrating the 300 years anniversary of the Scottish philosopher/economist Adam Smith, my Edinburgh University background came in handy to give my audience a few warning words on the dangers of unrestrained markets, supported by wise words from the social-democratic thinker, Tage Erlander, and the recently erected pope Francis (a former priest in the slums of Buenos Aires). While in Vilnius this spring, teaching at the university, the Lithuanians celebrated the 25 years anniversary of Sajudis, their independence movement. On June 3d, LRT (the Lithuanian public television channel) showed a new documentary on that occasion. This included an interview with me, focusing on the main events 1988-91. (This can be approached on the Internet
Here is the text of my speech given in the Church of St. John´s, Vilnius University, on June 6th.
12.4.2013Recovering from the Crisis: INSIDE OR OUTSIDE THE EMU?
April 9th The Institute for International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University, held a seminar on the international financial crisis, comparing the fates of countries inside and outside the euro-zone. Main speakers were Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, former Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs of Iceland, Dr. Ingrida Simonité, former Minister of Finance of Lithuania and Dr. Baldur Thórhallsson, Head of the Center for Small States´ Studies at the University of Iceland. Dr. Ramunas Vilpisauskas, Head of the institute introduced the speakers, but Mr. Bo Tillberg from the Nordic Council of Ministers´ Office was moderator.
Following are the speaking-notes of Mr. Hannibalsson:
17.2.2013The Nordic Model
February 2 this year the Economist published a special edition on the Nordic model. The authors came to the conclusion that the Nordic model had turned out, during the era of globalization, to be the most successful socio-economic model on the planet. It combined both efficiency and prosperity. It was both the most competitive and the most egalitarian society on earth. But, neo-liberal, as the Economist is, the authors tried their best to give credit for this unique success story to Sweden´s conservatives, who have had a chance in government for a few years, to tinker with the system at the margins. But the system remains fundamentally intact.
7.12.2012WHAT´S WRONG WITH EUROPE? AND BY THE WAY: WHY DON´T YOU FIX IT? The following is the text of a key-note speech given at the Baltic Assembly in Vilnius, Lithuania, on November 9th. In the speech I deal with the causes of the international financial crisis, the specifics of the euro-crisis and conclude by proposing a list of solutions.
12.10.2012Privatization á la Rus
October 10., 2012, Mr. Brian M. Carney, editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal (Europe), published op-ed in his paper under the heading: Fishing for Trouble in Iceland. Mr. Carney had been visiting in Reykjavík, where he conferred with his neo-con colleges at the university (Hannes Hólmsteinn, Ragnar Árnason o.fl.), who are underpinning the ship-owners´ (LÍÚ) campaign against the government proposal that they be obliged under the law to pay for their exclusive access to the fishing resources in Iceland´s economic zones. Mr. Carney had been taken for a ride on this issue by his friends as evidenced by the misinformation that pervaded his article. In response I sent an article to the WSJ, seeking to correct the most blatant misinformation. On October 17th the WSJ published excerpts from my article, heavily censored.Here is the article uncensored.
8.6.2012ÍSLENSKA LEIĐIN ÚT ÚR KREPPUNNI
Ađstođarritstjóri La Repubblica , sem er eitt helsta dagblađ Ítalíu (vinstra megin), Sr. Stagliano, beindi til mín spurningum um hina meintu “íslensku leiđ” út úr kreppunni, en hann var ađ undirbúa fréttaskýringu um ţetta efni í blađ sitt. Svör mín viđ spurningum ritstjórans fara hér á eftir á ensku.
The deputy editor of La Repubblica in Rome, Mr. Stagliano, asked me a few questions about the so called “Icelandic way” out of the crisis – but he was preparing a report on this issue in his paper and came to Iceland for that purpose on May 25th. Specifically, he wanted to know if the crisis-stricken euro-zone countries (Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland) could learn some lessons from the Icelandic experience. What follows are my answers to Mr. Stagliano´s questions.
23.11.2011ON SOLIDARITY OF SMALL NATIONS
Aths: Ísland greiddi atkvćđi međ - en Litháen gegn - ađild Palestínu ađ UNESCO hjá Sameinuđu ţjođunum. Af ţessu tilefni hafđi Ramunas Bogdanas, fyrrverandi ađstođarmađur Landsbergis, sjálfstćđishetju Litháa, viđtal viđ JBH međ vísan til ţess, ađ JBH hafđi frumkvćđi ađ stuđningi alţjóđasamfélagsins viđ sjálfstćđisbaráttu Litháa ţrátt fyrir andstöđu bćđi Bandaríkjanna og Ţýskalands á ţeim tíma. Hvers vegna styđja Litháar ţá ekki sjálfstćđisbaráttu Palestínumanna međ vísan til eigin reynslu?
Viđtaliđ birtist á útbreiddum vefmiđli í Litháen og fékk mikla umfjöllun. Ţađ leiddi m.a. til ţess, ađ utanríkismálanefnd Seimas (ţjóđţings Litháa) efndi til opins málţings um máliđ. Viđtaliđ fer hér á eftir óbreytt.
6.10.2011WHEN WILL THEY EVER LEARN? The crash 2008 (HRUNIĐ) revisited, three years later.
What was Iceland like before HRUN (crash)? What were the main causes of the crisis? Is anyone responsible? A few conspiracy theories. What are the main consequences? Are there any solutions? Are there any lessons to be learnt?
20.8.201120 YEARS OF ESTONIA´S RESTORED INDEPENDENCE
Your struggle to restore Estonia´s independence, more than 20 years ago, was not merely a reassertion of nationalism; not only an effort to preserve your language, culture and national identity;
It was also a democratic revolution – a final settlement of the second world war in Eastern Europe, and an endgame in the Cold War.
3.5.2011In Search of Freedom: IT´S ALL ABOUT EQUALITY, STUPID!
“Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” (Battle-cry of the French revolution)
“Freedom can not consist of a privilege of the few – to the exclusion of the many” (Olof Palme, Swedish PM)
“ Međ lögum skal land byggja, en ólögum eyđa” (“Under the law we build the land – without the law, we destroy it” - Ari fróđi, an Icelandic 11th Chistorian)
1.I hail from a people whose founding fathers claimed that they left their homelands (the heartland of Scandinavia, Scotland and Ireland), rather than succumb to the authority of the Norwegian king. This was in the 9th Century, during the Viking Age, when Norway was being unified by force into a single state.
13.1.2011YOU OWE IT TO THEM
Jón Baldvin er heiđursgestur Seimas (lítháiska ţjóđţingsins) í dag.
Hér fer á eftir rćđa hans viđ ţađ tćkifćri.
29.12.2010A REPUBLIC AT CROSSROADS
Haukur Magnússon, the editor of GRAPEVINE, an English language publication in Reykjavík (published in 25.000 copies) asked me to review the first decade of the 21st century in Iceland from a political perspective.
I spent the quiet Christmas days composing the following piece for Grapevine. I take note of the fact that the editor and I are both from Ísafjörđur. Actually we are distant relatives and can trace our familyties to Ögur in Ísafjarđadjúp. The editor´s mother is a former student of mine at MÍ. And once upon a time Bryndís and I lived in the same house, where the editor´s parents are now living in Ísafjörđur. Remarkable!
14.11.2010In Fulbright´s Honor
Rćđan sem hér fer á eftir var flutt í hófi sem haldiđ var á Hótel Hilton, 13. 11. í tilefni af 50 ára afmćli Fulbright stofnunarinnar.
11.3.2010SOLIDARITY OF SMALL NATIONS
Erindi flutt á hátíđarsamkomu Háskólans í Vilníus, í tilefni ţess ađ í dag eru liđin 20 ár frá ţví ađ Seimas, ţing Litháa, lýsti yfir endurreistu sjálfstćđi sínu.
Lagđar voru fjórar spurningar fyrir höfund. Svörin far hér á eftir.
The attached lecture was given today at a seminar at the University of Vilnius on the occasion of the 20 year anniversary of the Seimas declaration of the restored independence of Lithuania.
The lecture covers the four questions asked by the organizers.
7.11.2009ICELAND AND THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CRISIS. POLITICAL COMPLICATIONS AND THE WAY FORWARD
A speech made at the Kalevi Sorsa Institude in Helsinki on the 7th of November, 2009
1. CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES:
Since the fall, Icelanders are still debating whether they were the innocent victims of outside events or if they are themselves to blame for their misfortune. Although the international crisis (the fall of Lehman brothers) was the spark that ignited the fire, there is ample evidence to show that Iceland was headed for a fall. It was only a matter of time.
14.8.2009ICELAND AND THE EUROPEAN UNION
In her article: “Iceland – What can be Learnt from the Crash” – published in Le Monde, the Daily Telegraph and Aftenposten in Norway, August 1st, Madame Eva Joly, member of the European Parliament, pleads the case of the Icelandic people, based on the premise that they were innocent victims of events, beyond their control.
8.8.2009POLITICAL FIRST-AID? Iceland and EU
Why should the European Union – or individual member states – worry about Iceland in her current distress? A country with a tiny population in the North Atlantic, on the margins, of Europe having fallen victim to an economic crash, which is beyond the nation’s means to recover from, on her own? Are there any interests involved, justifying that the EU should incur effort and expense – although a miniscule amount seen from the vantage point of Brussels – to help Iceland to recover from this major setback?
20.7.2009ICELAND: FROM CRISIS TO RECOVERY
INTERVIEW WITH MR. JON BALDVIN HANNIBALSSON
BY WITOLD BOGDANSKY IN REYKJAVIK (JUNE 02, 2009).
The purpose of the interview is to present different opinions on present situation in Iceland, collapse of the Icelandic economy in 2008, issues such as membership of EU and EMU, economic situation, adoption of euro (or a different currency), NAFTA issue and others subjects.
23.4.2009In memoriam: DR. GÍSLI REYNISSON, COUNSUL GENERAL IN RIGA
Once upon a time Riga was the jewel of the Swedish crown - was the biggest town of the Swedish empire – bigger and richer than Stockholm – and the most powerful commercial center of the Hanseatic merchant league along the Baltic Sea. Still, they spoke German on the Stock Exchange.
The EEA-agreement is a product of the Cold War era. Five of us defined themselves as neutral or outside alliances. Two of us were NATO members, but suspicious of the European Union for different reasons.
4.1.2009THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CRISIS: THE CASE OF ICELAND - ARE THERE LESSONS TO BE LEARNT
The text of this working-paper is an elaborated version of a lecture given by the author at a seminar held by the Faculty of Law and Economics of the Friedrich Schiller University at Jena in Türingen in Germany November 27, 2008. The text has been revised to bring it up to date as of end of year 2008.
The text of this working-paper is an elaborated version of a lecture given by the author at a seminar held by the Faculty of Law and Economics of the Friedrich Schiller University at Jena in Türingen in Germany November 27, 2008. The text has been revised to bring it up to date as of end of year 2008.
2.1.2008A LETTER TO MR. KAZICKAS
Mr.Kazickas is an American of Lithuanian descent. He published his memoirs with an account of his involvement in the struggle for the restoration of Lithuania´s independence. According to Mr. Kazickas's story, Iceland´s role in support of the Baltic countries´ independence was explained as having been iniciated and orchestrated by the US through their ambassador in Reykjavik, Mr. Cobb.
28.9.2006SMALL NATIONS IN THE ERA OF GLOBALIZATION HOW ARE THEY DOING?
What is the status of small nations in the era of globalization? How are they doing? What are their prospects? Are they doing better or worse than the so called major states? Are they doing better or worse than they did in the 20th C; in the bi-polar world of the cold war or in the inter- war period, under the shadow of the totalitarian menace of military conquest?
As a former Minister for Foreign Affairs and an ambassador of a small state, Iceland, I wish to use this opportunity to share with you my thoughts on this subject. As citizens of a small state, celebrating the 15th anniversary of your restored independence, this is hopefully a matter of mutual interest.
25.6.2006MISSIONARIES OR MUSEUM-KEEPERS?
Ráđstefna um guđleysi, ásamt Richard Dawkins, Kaffi Reykjavík.
During my happy student days at Edinburgh University in the early sixties (the 20ieth century, to be sure) I once had the opportunity to attend the Labour Party annual conference as a representative of a radical student organization. I still remember the opening ceremony as vividly as if it had happened yesterday.
12.3.2006VILNIUS ROUND-TABLEWESTERN POLICIES TOWARDS THE RESTORATION OF INDEPENDENCE OG THE BALTIC COUNTRIES
Once again congratulations from afar, from Reykjavík to Vilnius. I understand that you are commemorating the Seimas declaration of Lithuania´s restored independence, March 11, 1990. And assessing and evaluating the attitudes and policies of the Nordic countries towards those historical events across the Baltic Sea. It is high time that this important issue be studied objectively in a historical perspective. I wish you a fruitful discussion.
18.1.2006WHY ARE SMALL NATIONS DOING SO WELL?
Why are some nations rich while others are poor?
How have some nations made it from poverty to prosperity –
while others have failed?
Why are many small nations outperforming many bigger
ones, in the international race to the top?
Why, indeed, is the majority of mankind entrapped in
exreme poverty, although we have the the knowledge,
technology and resources to end poverty in the lifetime of a
28.4.2005THE TRANSFORMATIVE POWER OF EUROPEAN INTEGRATION
Lorenzo di´Medici, whose family ran Florence in the 15th C. is credited with being the first person to coin the phrase “balance of power”. It is a principle that became one of the key foundations of the European disorder for five hundred years. The logic of the balance of power between competing nationstates led to a state of perpetual war in Europe and beyond. This has been the curse of European history.
In his article and accompanying interview 08.04.05 on the Council on Foreign Relations web page Mr. Uffe Elleman-Jensen, the former Danish Foreign Minister maintains:
(1) That he “moved forward alone” in restoring diplomatic relations with the Baltic states and by his action he made Denmark “the first country” to do so.
(2) That Iceland was somehow in a different position and therefore does not count in “the story”.
(3) That the Bush 1 administration was a stalwart supporter of the restoration of the Baltic countries when their fate was decided 1988-91.
I regret to say that on all counts Mr. Jensen is wrong.
1.1.2005THE BALTIC ROAD TO FREEDOM: 1987-1991“BREAKING THE SILENCE” The issue of the Independence of the Baltic States on the International Agenda, 1987-1991
Fifteen years ago 35 Foreign Ministers of European States and North America gathered in Copenhagen to address the issue of human rights. The Conference was convened within the framework of the CSCE-process, as it was called in those days.
1.12.2003TWO SUCCESS STORIES
At the end of the First World War - the war to end all wars - several new states emerged on the European scene. Among them were Finland and Iceland and Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on the Baltic shore. Their high hopes for their newly won independence were to be severely tested during the course of the 20ieth century - the most violent century in the history of mankind, so far.
Iceland achieved its independence from Denmark by a treaty that entered into force December 1st, 1918. That day has since been celebrated in Iceland as the “Day of Sovereignty”, although the remaining ties to the Danish king were not severed until 1944, when Iceland was finally declared a republic. That was done at Thingvellir - where the oldest Parliament in the world was founded - in the year 930. Today Icelanders therefore celebrate the 85th anniversary of their national sovereignty in the modern world.
5.6.1990Time is on Their Side
June 5, 1990, a major CSCE-conference on the human dimension was held in Copenhagen, at the invitation of the Foreign Minister of Denmark, Mr. Uffe Ellemann Jensen. In attendance were the foreign ministers of all European states, plus USA and Canada. This conference was a part of a series of meetings, laying the groundwork for new relations between European states in the wake of the cold war. The Berlin Wall had been torn down, Eastern Europe had been set free, and democratically constituted governments had been formed in the Baltic states.