Gylfi Zoega: Icelanders should be more open

Gylfi ZoegaGylfi Zoega, professor of Economics at the University of Iceland, said in an exclusive interview for IceNews, that reopening the market is essential for the economic future of the northern island nation.

He pointed out that until money transfers to and from Iceland are normally re-started; no foreign investors will be able to start businesses in the country. “With that goes the necessity to adopt the euro; and that should be done within the second half of this year while Sweden holds the EU presidency.”

The professor said there are two future possibilities: “Either Icelandic trade reopens and banks regain their credibility and status, or this island closes into itself even more. The current situation cannot last long. I would, of course, prefer the first possibility.”

“The current government is too much domestically orientated, rather than internationally. If they do not offer the right conditions for foreign investors, they will lose the possibility to bring investments here and enhance the local economy.”

Mr Zoega stated that Iceland needs a leader able to handle this situation, but that it would be almost impossible to find such a person domestically. “I do see a possibility of some foreign politician coming in. The current Icelandic politicians behave as if someone put them in a freezer forty years ago. Besides that, they are not really educated to have the post they hold. There is no educated economist for instance.”

“One of the other issues is communication. The past and present governments completely lack internal and external communication. There are negotiations going on, but no outcome is known.”

“Iceland is a very stubborn and patriotic country – just remember how they are pictured in the book Independent People by Halldor Laxness. But people here must understand that it is important to mingle up and accept other nationalities and that having a non-Icelandic politician would not be a shame.”

When questioned whether Mr Zoega would be interested in joining the political scene, he answered “No, that is not my intention. I am more interested in the papers.”

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