I attended a Nordic Horizons on Iceland’s recovery following the financial crash.
It was given by Prof Thurvaldur Gylfason based in Iceland and Sigrun Davidsdoffir a journalist based in the UK but working in Iceland
The session was well attended and the two presented a lively case for Iceland as it is now – pulling itself out of the slough of despond but some way to go and not all are pulling quite in the same direction – but what’s new.
Nordic Horizons focuses on how much are the Nordics relevant to Scotland as it moves to the Referendum in 18 months.
And it got me thinking as to how well Iceland experience could be translated to Scotland and I have set down my starter for ten below. It is only a starter for ten as it is at best ‘high level’ and much may be wrong. Comments are always welcome!
I have included Southern Cyprus if only because the population is closer to that of Iceland and it’s a country having worked there I know a little about.
|Scotland (towards Independence)||Iceland||Ireland (Eire)||Cyprus (Southern)|
|Population||5.2 million||320 thousand||4.5 million||800 thousand|
|Geopolitics||Still part of UK – would still have connections with UK||Loosely with Denmark||Loosely with UK||Republic but close connections with Greece – uneasy position wrt to Northern Cyprus and Turkey|
|Constitution||Currently as UK none. To be written on Independence. Scope unclear||In the formative stage. To be ratified by new Parliament||Written in 1937. Looks nice and simple. Stood the test of time. – see Wiki|
|Currency||Pegged to £ and would like to remain so. However if joining EU may be required to switch to euro||Iceland Krone – floating||euro||euro|
|In the European Union||Yes and intends to remain so||Has applied but internal intense debate. Fish an external problem||Staunch supporter||Yes|
|Products / services||Tourism, Financial Services, Whisky||Fish, potentially energy||Agricultural – offshore services though decreasing||Tourism – agricultural. Pivotal in Eastern Med|
|Banks||2 major semi nationalised banks + Clydesdale. Unclear as to status come Independence||National Bank – 2 comparatively large commercial banks let die||National Bank – just liquidated Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (what a name!)||Just been bailed out by European Central Bank|
|Sources of own Energy||Targeting Renewables||Geothermal – could be an important export||None – still hoped for oil off-shore||None|
|Social Democracy||Aspires to||Yes – small egalitarian population – seriously affected by Financial Crash||Like the UK but affect by financial crash||Like Greece, rural – popular with ex-pats from across Europe|
|Outlook||Mediocre||WOW! -and everyone knows each other||Was the Celtic Tiger, now more like the Kilkenny Cat||Small WOW – everyone knows each other – yet to recover from separation|