“Potential EU membership is a long-term issue. It’s about the future. This is certainly a very serious crisis that the EU countries are going through. We’ll obviously have to monitor the developments very well, but we certainly hope that the EU will manage its way through this crisis.”
- Stefán Haukur Jóhannesson, Iceland’s chief negotiator in Iceland’s accession talks to join the EU.
My story on the negotiations is in today’s Reykjavík Grapevine. Photo by Alísa Kalyanova
I interviewed people in downtown Iceland last night about the June 30 presidential election. The president is essentially a figurehead in Iceland, but he or she does have one very important power: sending a law that Parliament passes to national referendum. This was important here.
This election, a seven-person race, is shaping up to be a battle of “two towers” — TV journalist Þora Arnórsdóttir vs. four-term incumbent president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. Þora has run on the platform that she won’t infuse the office with politics, like Ólafur has. At an event I went to yesterday, she said she’d be the “nice president.”
Here’s what one Icelander, a 29-year-old Ph.D. student named Ásta (pictured), said:
“I want something else than the president we have now. I know that’s a bad argument, but all the five others, they have pretty similar strategies. They mostly say the same things. But there’s something about Þóra that makes me trust her. I like the way she emphasizes how she won’t have a political strategy. I like that because I think we’ve had enough of that.”
I’d really like to go to Iceland. That would be nice. Maybe next summer?