James Leroy Wilson's blog

Monday, October 11, 2004

Iceland: the Richest Country in Europe

In the ten years that I have been travelling to Iceland, I have watched an economic miracle unfold there. When I first visited the island, it had just joined the European Economic Area. Eurocrats expected that this would simply be a transitional phase on the way to full EU membership, but Icelanders saw it differently. As far as they were concerned, the EEA gave them all the benefits of the single market with few of the associated costs. Iceland is covered by the EU’s so-called four freedoms — free movement, that is, of goods, services, people and capital — but retains control over its own agriculture, fisheries, foreign policy, social affairs and non-EU trade. And, unlike full members, Iceland makes only a token contribution to the Brussels budget, amounting last year to 0.07 per cent of its GDP.

-Daniel Hannon

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