“What´s Wrong with Europe – and by the Way – Why don´t You Fix it?” er ræða, sem var flutt 14. sept.á ráðstefnu í Vilníus um framtíð Evrópu. Ráðstefnan var haldin í boði utanríkisráðherra Litáens í tilefni af því, að aldarfjórðugur er liðinn frá því að alþjóðasamfélagið viðurkenndi endurreist sjálfstæði 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?


There is now a growing volume of literature on the Euro crisis – which simply won´t go away – and the austerity recipe which was supposed to cure it, but to no avail. One of the latest is: „The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe“, by a Nobel price winner in economics, Joseph Stiglitz. Listen to what he has to say:

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“Hvað getum við lært af norræna módelinu?” er ræða, sem var flutt á málþingi sósialdemókrataflokks Litáens í tilefni af 120 ára afmælinu.

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.


The neo-liberal era started in the eighties as a revolt against the welfare state. It was a reassertion of the fundamentalist belief in market infallibility. It turned out to be a repeat version of history: Essentially it leads to casino-capitalism, in the thrall of high-finance, which ended in a stock exchange crash in 1929. Austerity-like policies to deal with the consequences deepened the crisis, then as now, and ended in a decade long Great Depression.

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