ICELAND: 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.

Mr. Jon Baldvin Hannibalsson, is a very well known Icelandic politician: the former President of The Social Democratic Party (1984-1986), the former Minister of Finance (1987-1988) and Minister of Foreign Affairs (1988-1995), and later the Ambassador of the Republic of Iceland in the United States and Finland.

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DELORS´S BABY

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.

We were small nations – in terms of population, but strong in terms of trade and economics. This awkward mix meant that we were marginal vis a vis the process of European integration. This gap had somehow to be bridged.

Jacques Delors – still today the greates tof the EU-presidents – was the consummate political fixer. In his time he had saved the Mitterand regime from floundering on the rocks of out-of-date economics. Now he proposed to square the circle with us.

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THE 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.

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A 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.

Several high ranking leaders of the Baltic independence movement have told me that this was an official US attempt at historical revision, trying to justify that the Bush senior administration was very late in recognizing the hard won independence of the Baltic States.
I wrote this letter to Mr. Kazickas to put the record straight.

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MISSIONARIES OR MUSEUM-KEEPERS?

Ráðstefna um guðleysi, 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.

1.
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.

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VILNIUS ROUND-TABLEWESTERN POLICIES TOWARDS THE RESTORATION OF INDEPENDENCE OG THE BALTIC COUNTRIES

Dear friends:
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.

When the news of the Seimas declaration on the restoration of Lithuania´s independence reached Reykjavík, our parliament – Alþingi, the oldest parliament in the world – spontaneously adopted a unanimous resolution, supporting the declaration. An unequivocal message of this kind from the legislative body of one state to another is of course de facto recognition, if not de jure. It shows that Iceland was already at that time ready to accord full recognition to Lithuania´s independence. But that is not the point. In order to make the act of recognition politically significant – and irreversible – we had to make sure that other states followed suite. The purpose, of course, was to ensure the recognition of the international community, in order to enhance the security of Lithuania´s statehood.

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WHY 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
generation?

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THE 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.

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The British philosopher, Bertrand Russel, in dissecting the malignant cancer of extreme nationalism, often tied up with missionary religious sectarianism, came up with a proposal for a radical solution. He proposed the outsourcing of history.

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ICELAND´S ROLE

Sir:
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.

Iceland´s role.

In the Seimas building in Vilnius there is a photo gallery of persons who, according to Lithuanian history, had a role to play in the nation´s struggle for reclaiming independence. The first photo is of the Foreign Minister of Iceland (not Denmark) with a text explaining that he was the first foreign minister to formally recognize the restored independence of Lithuania. For the same reason, the Vilnius City Council made the Icelandic Foreign Minister at the time an honorary citizen of Vilnius and renamed a street in the heart of Vilnius Iceland Street on the same occasion.

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THE 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.

“BREAKING THE SILENCE”
The issue of the Independence of the Baltic States on the International Agenda, 1987-1991
By Mr.Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs & External Trade of Iceland 1988 – 1995

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