Iceland. According to Countryaah, the government’s split became apparent when the coalition in January decided to stop the negotiations for EU membership until after the general elections in April. The Social Democrats had pushed the issue of EU membership, but the Left – Greens had slowed down throughout the reign.
At the same time, the government received a positive message from Europe, when the EFTA court ruled in favor of Iceland in the so-called Icesave conflict. According to the court, Iceland did not breach the EEA agreement when the Internet bank Icesave did not compensate British and Dutch customers for losses in the bankruptcy of 2008.
The settlement after the bank collapses in 2008 continued when the former bank executives were brought to trial in March, for example. have manipulated stock prices. From Landsbanki, a manager and five officials were prosecuted and from Kaupthing a manager and eight officials. Earlier, former Prime Minister Geir Haarde had been convicted of negligence in the crisis, but without punishment.
The general election in April became a triumph for the parties that ruled Iceland before the financial crisis. The Conservative Independence Party and the Center Progressive Party took about a quarter of the vote each and received both 19 seats. In doing so, they achieved a clear majority in the parliament and were able to form a coalition government.
The outgoing coalition with the Social Democrats and the Left – the Greens made a disaster choice, after trying for four years to clean up after Iceland’s economic chaos in the financial crisis. The voting share of both parties was halved. The voters did not feel that they had received what was promised, the debt was high and unemployment was noticeable. Especially the rural population had felt the austerity of the crisis, and outside the countryside the government coalition lost a lot. At the same time, other voters were upset that the memory was so short and that the parties considered to have the greatest debt to the crisis received such strong support.
The leader of the Progressive Party Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson became new prime minister with the Independence Party leader Bjarni Benediktsson as finance minister. The government decided in connection with its accession in May to suspend Iceland’s negotiations for EU membership for good. When the negotiations were stopped at the beginning of the year, one third of the negotiating chapters were ready, and in an opinion poll 53% wanted the negotiations to be completed. Later in the year, the government declared that it did not intend to hold a referendum on the EU issue. However, Iceland continues to be a member of EFTA and thus, like Norway, has the so-called EEA agreement with the EU.
In June, the new government decided to resume commercial whaling. The quota for catching herring during the year was set at 154 whales. Also, fold selection was allowed for hunting.
During the year, the EU threatened Iceland with sanctions, as Iceland unilaterally raised its catch quota of mackerel. Iceland had then jumped from the negotiations on catch quotas in the North-East Atlantic, since the EU and Norway have taken 90% and offered Iceland 3.1%. The quota that Iceland then set on its own accounted for about 16%.
During the year, the Norwegian state-owned company Petoro AS signed an agreement with Iceland to drill for oil northeast of Iceland, near the Norwegian island of Jan Mayen but on the Icelandic seabed. The hopes for oil discoveries were high, as the Arctic is estimated to have the largest remaining oil resources on earth.
In December, four former executives at Kaupthing Bank were sentenced to between three and five years in prison, prosecuted for withholding important information during the 2008 financial crisis.