Iceland’s foreign minister, Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, has voiced his government’s support for the UK as they navigate Brexit negotiations, citing Iceland’s own successes as a non-EU sovereign nation.
— Embassy of Iceland (@IcelandinUK) April 18, 2017
“It would be ridiculous if we were to see some sort of trade barrier in Europe in the near future,” he said. “We don’t make EU commitments as EFTA, which is a free trade organization. We have free trade deals with 38 partners around the world.”
“When the government of the fifth largest economy wants to be champions of free trade, I think it is only good for the rest of the world.
“It’s very important we see more free trade in the world. It’s about prosperity for the people, and the way forward there is to have free trade,” he added. “We just need to see the EU and UK finalise free trade between themselves like we have seen for decades.”
The Nordic island nation operates as one of four members of the European Free Trade Association and also through the European Economic Agreement, which exempts it from many of the shackles and burdens to which EU states are beholden.
Þórðarson discussed Iceland’s own bilateral trade agreements as a model that could work just as well for Britain – or any other country hoping to exit the European Union.
“Iceland, because we can also do bilateral agreements, we have a free trade agreement with the first European nation and China,” he said. “If the UK would join EFTA it would be about the free trade deals around the world.”
“There will be no winners if we are going to have trade barriers. I would think that at the end of the day it will be obvious that is it is in everyone’s interests to have free trade in Europe, as it was before [Brexit].”
“There are already layers of co-operation in Europe – the EU, the EEA, EFTA, Schengen, the Euro, NATO – that’s normal, so if one nation wants to leave one of these spheres of co-operation but still wants to be in close touch in other ways, that is in everyone’s interests,” he continued. “What does erecting trade barriers mean? It simply means that the politicians in the remaining 27 EU countries will have to explain to the people who could lose their jobs, that they are doing it because they are so ‘tough’ on the Brits.”
— Guðlaugur Þór (@GudlaugurThor) April 19, 2017
Tourism to Iceland, one of the safest countries in the world, is exploding, as it declines in crime-ridden European cities like Paris and Brussels, due to the negative effects of staple EU policies, such as open borders and migrant quotas.
“Tourism’s share of foreign exchange earnings has grown from 18.8% to 31.0% between 2010–2015 according to measurements on the export of goods and services,” reports the Icelandic Tourist Board. “At present, tourism accounts for more foreign exchange income than the fisheries industry and aluminium production.”
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