Friday, March 13, 2015

EU loses Iceland as a member, out of its myopic policies.
Iceland has dropped its bid to become a member of the EU.

Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson said he had informed the current EU president Latvia as well as the European Commission about the move. (Euronews)

Who can blame them really. Why anyone would like to join a union, where the citizens are the ones who bailout the banks with their taxes, while being slandered on top of that if they protest.

The Icelanders jailed the bankers and did not gave them more powers, unlike the rest of Europe and America. The Icelandic way of dealing with the economic crisis, has conveniently slipped out the European media and in extend, the public opinion's attention.

Instead, the continent's media institutions, found joy in slandering the Greeks for complaining about austerity. In addition they focused in everything that was wrong in the country's economy and society, trying desperately to justify that the Greeks have to suffer for their laziness and corruption. 

The events that were taking place in Iceland on the other hand, were not mentioned by the mainstream media. 

Iceland's 38-year-old prime minister, Sigmundur Davíd Gunnlaugsson, elected in April on populist promises of mortgage relief for every homeowner. Syriza did exactly the same, yet it is being scorned and scolded by its European "partners".

Gunnlaugsson earned his spurs in years of outspoken campaigning against the foreign creditors, particularly the British and the Dutch governments, which intervened after the collapse of Landsbanki, the bank behind Icesave, on 7 October 2008.

A poisonous diplomatic row was sparked between Iceland, the Netherlands and Great Britain, that against the odds, Iceland won. While many other politicians in Iceland had urged a policy of appeasing the enraged British and Dutch governments, Gunnlaugsson had insisted they should go hang.

Having helped win the famous Icesave victory from outside government, Gunnlaugsson has promised to carry that uncompromising approach with him as prime minister, hinting at a new wave of attacks on the interests of foreign creditors to Iceland's three failed banks: Kaupthing, Glitnir and Landsbanki. 

Between them, these institutions had assets more than nine times the size of Iceland's economic output when they failed in 2008.

His attitude personally reminds me of the attitude or the Greek Minister of Finance, Yanis Varoufakis. Yet, since outside the EU, the Icelanders did not have to face the same pressure from their partners, through the EU institutions.
As result, the Icelanders are fast on their way back to becoming among the richest people in the world, just five years after experiencing one of the most dramatic financial meltdowns in history.

"We raised almost every tax there was – and introduced new ones," recalled the then finance minister, Steingrimur Sigfusson, adding that there were considerable cuts in public spending too as government debt swelled to eye-watering levels.

By August 2011, Iceland had graduated from its International Monetary Fund bailout program with flying colors. "We became a poster child for them," suggests Sigfusson, noting how the fund is still struggling to right many other sinking economies on Europe's peripheries.

Iceland is now held up as an example by some of how to overcome deep economic dislocation without undoing the social fabric.

Since then, with government borrowing receding, Iceland has been able to return to the international debt markets, and has begun repaying its emergency loans. Meanwhile, the economy – having shrunk more than 10% in two years – bounced in 2011 and 2012, and will grow by about 1.9% this year.

Nobel prize winner Joeseph Stilitz agrees. "What Iceland did was right. It would have been wrong to burden future generations with the mistakes of the financial system." For Financial Times economist Martin Wolf too, it was a triumph. "Iceland let the creditors of its banks hang. Ireland did not. Good for Iceland!" Less good, of course, for the foreign creditors. (The Guardian)

It is the obviously the attitude of Germany, it's satellite states and the EU institutions and the way they treat Greece and other nations under an EU/IMF bailout program, that put the Icelanders off EU membership. They do not need the rest of Europe anymore, they have proven they can make it on their own.

And not just that, but why would they put up with institutionalized bullying by their EU counterparts, that want to save their own banks and insure the maximum return for their bond holders? 

Iceland's case is a true example of a real patriotism and fully functioning democracy, where the leaders listen to their voters' needs and work hard for their interests. This is quite the opposite of what the former Greek government and many of their European counterparts were doing,

 Losing Iceland as a potential EU member, is a real loss for Europe, European democracy and the continent's dream for unification. European leaders, take not and hang your head in shame! 

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