Nordic and German leaders meeting in Reykjavík

20.08.2019 - 10:09
Mynd: RÚV - Guðmundur Bergquist / RÚV - Guðmundur Bergquist
German chancellor Angela Merkel said at a press conference at Þingvellir National Park yesterday evening that it has been a longstanding dream to visit Iceland. During a warm exchange of compliments between the two government leaders, Merkel described Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir as a courageous leader who thinks for the future, before emphasising how much she values Germany’s good relations with all the Nordic countries.

Today, she will meet the prime ministers of all the Nordic countries, who are in Iceland for their regular summer meeting. 

“Germany and Iceland are connected by strong bonds. In recent years, interest in Iceland and the country’s nature has increased significantly and the number of German students in Iceland has gone up. Also, trade cooperation has increased,” Merkel said at the press conference (video above in English and German). 

Yesterday was a busy day for Katrín Jakobsdóttir, who welcomed her Swedish counterpart Stefan Löfven at Hellisheiðarvirkjun geothermal power station, Angela Merkel at Þingvellir, and her Finnish counterpart Antti Rinne at the prime ministerial house in central Reykjavík. 

Today will be no less busy, and the public will also be aware of traffic delays as police temporarily block road junctions to allow the leaders’ cars free passage. 

All the national leaders have security and police escort, but Iceland is nevertheless a relatively safe country and Angela Merkel took advantage of the opportunity to stroll in central Reykjavík yesterday evening, chatting with the German ambassador and visiting several shops. 

Although her walkabout caused a security headache, the Chancellor reportedly enjoyed the chance to chat with people (including some very surprised German tourists) and to pose for selfies.  

The eight government leaders of Germany, the five Nordic countries, plus the Åland Islands, and Greenland, will meet at Harpa today to discuss opportunities to increase cooperation between Germany and the Nordics on tackling global problems; especially including climate change and sustainable development. Later in the day they will meet with representatives of large Nordic companies. The event will end with a joint press conference with all the leaders on Viðey island, just off the north Reykjavík coast. 

This article has been updated. A previous version stated that there were nine government leaders. The prime minister of the Faroe Islands was not present, however, as erroneously reported earlier.

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Alexander Elliott
Project manager
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