Iceland: Greenland and borders in the Arctic Ocean: an interview with Edward H. Huijbens (University of Akureyri, Iceland).

In the port of Reykjavik.
Edward H. Huijbens, MA, PhD. Geographer, scholar of tourism and professor at the school of social sciences and humanities at the University of Akureyri, where he is also department head for the faculty of social sciences and law. Edward works on tourism theory, issues of regional development, landscape perceptions, the role of transport in tourism and polar tourism. He is author of over 30 articles in several scholarly journals such as Annals of Tourism Research, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Tourism Geographies and has published three monographs in both Iceland and internationally and co-edited four books.
HA-Edward H Huijbens 2017(1)
In what extent the maritime border issues in the Artic ocean involve Icelandic diplomacy?
By the Arctic Ocean I take it you mean the Ocean at the North pole where the great powers jostle for influence and claims of sovereignty. Iceland is not involved in any of those issues and has no claim to the Arctic Ocean nor the seabed below. We are however greatly involved in protecting our maritime border in particular the EEZ we set up in 1976 to 200 nm. This is of paramount importance to our sovereignty as within it we can manage our fisheries. We have also taken part in jostling for fishing rights in international waters in the high north, in particular the Barents sea.
Does the Artic ocean appear as an internal topic in Icelandic politics? Can we see different positions about the topic depending on political parties views?
No not the Arctic ocean, nor really the EEZ, the latter is a matter of great importance to Iceland and all agree that it should be upheld and protected
Why does the Artic ocean become so interesting for main countries like Russia, Canada or the US?
To them it is about the resources below and potential shipping routes. Those with claim to the seabed has right to harness resources there and those who can claim their EEZ to extend into the waters can regulate shipping
How does Iceland-a former Danish territory-perceive the autonomous political movement in Greenland?
With great sympathy and support. We have actively been involved in advising the Greenlanders on how to develop and diversify their economy, in particular in terms of fisheries. Engaging with the Greenlanders as a fellow post colonial state eases relations
Does Iceland wish to enter the EU or the euro in next years?
No there is no political discussion about that for now. There was in 2009-2013, but now it is under the table and only one party has it as a real policy, the social democrats but this is not a topic for any of the recent elections in Iceland

Islande: une île à proximité des enjeux frontaliers de l’Arctique


Paysage à proximité de Reykjavik

Située juste au sud de l’océan glacial Arctique, l’Islande est un peu à l’écart des tensions grandissantes autour des rivalités de pouvoirs dans cette zone. Mais elle suit avec grand intérêt la volonté d’émancipation du Groenland voisin et les débats entre grands Etats pour le découpage de l’Arctique (Russie, Etats-Unis, Canada sans oublier la Norvège et le Danemark).

Pour rappel des enjeux, réécouter l’émission Les Enjeux Internationaux du 12 décembre 2017 sur France Culture (avec carte):


Paysage près de Reykjavik.


Le complexe de spectacles “Harpa” inauguré en 2011 face à un bateau militaire dans le port de Reykjavik.