Getur Íslands haft áhrif á ganga alþjóðamála?

Hlaðvarpsþáttur um Rödd Íslands á alþjóðavettvangi þar sem ég fjalla um möguleika Íslands til áhrifa í alþjóðamálum. Þátt­ur­inn er hluti af Frið­ar­dögum í Reykja­vík 2020: Er frið­ur­inn úti? sem haldnir eru á vegum Höfða frið­ar­set­urs Reykja­vík­ur­borgar og Háskóla Íslands, í sam­starfi við  UNICEF á Íslandi, UN Women á Íslandi, Félag Sam­ein­uðu þjóð­anna og utan­rík­is­ráðu­neyt­ið. Hlaðvarp Kjarnans.

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Getur Ísland orðið leiðandi í mannréttindamálum?

Spurn­ingin um það hvort Ísland geti orðið leið­andi í alþjóða­sam­fé­lag­inu er sam­ofin þeirri spurn­ingu hvort lítil ríki geti látið til sín taka í alþjóða­mál­um. Norð­ur­löndin sem talin eru lítil ríki í alþjóða­kerf­inu hafa sýnt fram á að þau geta haft áhrif á ein­stök mál innan Sam­ein­uðu þjóð­anna. Spyrja má hvort Ísland geti fetað í fót­spor þeirra og hvaða for­sendur þurfi að vera til staðar til þess.Ísland geti orðið leið­andi í alþjóða­sam­fé­lag­inu er sam­ofin þeirri spurn­ingu hvort lítil ríki geti látið til sín taka í alþjóða­mál­um. Norð­ur­löndin sem talin eru lítil ríki í alþjóða­kerf­inu hafa sýnt fram á að þau geta haft áhrif á ein­stök mál innan Sam­ein­uðu þjóð­anna. Spyrja má hvort Ísland geti fetað í fót­spor þeirra og hvaða for­sendur þurfi að vera til staðar til þess.
Skrifaði pistil um möguleika Íslands til að láta til sín taka í alþjóðamálum í tengslum við friðardaga í Reykjavík 2020.

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Hard-line Eurosceptics Clash with Eurosceptics in Iceland

New chapter about Euroscepticism in Iceland: Iceland - Hard-line Eurosceptics Clash with Eurosceptics. Most political parties represented in the Althingi, the Icelandic national parliament, are Eurosceptic in the sense that they oppose Iceland’s membership in the European Union (EU). Nevertheless, the vast majority of them support Iceland’s membership in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Schengen, and there is a cross party consensus on membership in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). However, in recent years, the Icelandic political party system has become increasingly polarized around European integration. New Eurosceptical and pro-European parties have emerged, which either campaign to limit Iceland’s participation in the EEA and Schengen, or to join the EU. The established political parties which prefer the status quo have joined forces in a cross right-left coalition government. They have had to fight off fierce opposition from the Eurosceptic hard-liners to the implementation of the Third Energy Package of the EU within the EEA framework and pressure from the Europhiles to re-open the accession talks with the EU.
You will find the chapter in a book titled Euroscepticism and the Future of Europe: Views from the Capital  edited by in M. Keading, J. Pollak, P. Schmidt, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

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The Nordic states Keeping Cool at the Top?

New chapter on the The Nordic states Keeping Cool at the Top? with Jóna Sólveig Elínardóttir. The Nordic states have an international reputation for being among the most advanced, liberal, and egalitarian welfare societies in the world, as well as being active international players. Given their small state status, however, they face similar challenges when it comes to maintaining their influential positions, both at home and abroad. The main aim of this chapter is to examine how the Nordic states have dealt with these challenges and kept the Nordic model and their active international engagement intact. We argue that the Nordic states’ responses to current challenges are based on a profound understanding of their position as small states. They use their traditional, cautious and flexible approach, as well as their consensus seeking behaviour, when responding to economic, welfare and migration problems domestically, as well as confrontations by aggressive external actors. Simultaneously, they have sought political, economic and societal shelter provided by their close allies and international organizations and use these fora to continue their active international engagement. Thus, Nordic states generally cope and even prosper despite their size and related political, economic and societal vulnerabilities.
You will find the chapter
in G. Baldacchino and A. Wivel (eds.) Handbook on the Politics of Small States, Edward Elgar, pp. 113-130.

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Decisive strategy combined with a positive image and political willingness

Doing my bit on Small States at the OECD. I had the honour to speak about the ability of small states to influence decision making in international organizations at a meeting of ambassadors of small states in the OECD at the residence of the Icelandic ambassador, Kristján Andri Stefánsson, in Paris. It was great to meet representatives of small states who have the challenging task to try to have a say in the complex structure of the international system. We had lively discussions about the methods small states can use to exercise their influence in international organizations. Great to see that Iceland is taking the lead in getting small states together and finding a way for them to cooperate closer within the OECD. I finished my talk by saying something like: A strategy based on prioritisation, flexibility, informality, autonomy of officials and decisive knowledge combined with a positive image and political willingness can lead to negotiation successes of small states in international organizations.

 

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Silence is still the worst enemy

Doing my bit on queer rights at the OECD in Paris. I had the pleasure and honour to give a speech on the development on queer rights in Iceland (From Oppression to Rainbow Revolution: LGBTQ Social Progress and Legislative Victories) at the second year anniversary of the Group of Friends of Gender Equality Plus. Iceland is doing a great job raising awareness of LGBTQ+ rights within the OECD under the leadership of Kristján Andri Stefánsson, the Icelandic ambassador. I spoke about how societies, in general, go through a number of stages in the process from intolerance to acceptance regarding queer rights - though their timeframes may be different and they may dwell shorter or longer at each state. I argued that the Icelandic society evolved in six stages. I finished the talk by saying: We will of course have to continue to fight homophobia and transphobia just like women continue to fight for equal social rights. Three final points. First, we need to make sure that LGBTQ rights are labelled human rights. Queer rights are human rights and we should never ever give discount on that fact. Second, securing full equal rights is like climbing a high mountain which in the beginning seems impossible. It is a challenging task, but the step-by-step approach (discussed in the speech) will slowly but steadily take us to the top. Finally, we have to make sure that the queer communities are visible on the way to the top. Silence is still the worst enemy.

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U.S. and Iran in 2020

What a mess! And lively debate on Facebook. Reyni hér að setja árás Bandaríkjanna í samhengi við gang mála í Miðausturlöndum. Það að Bandaríkin taki af lífi annan valdamesta mann Íran setur átökin á milli ríkjanna á nýtt og alvarlegt stig. Eigi að síður held ég að mikilvægt sé að halda sönsum og missa sig ekki í yfirlýsingum um árásina og hugsnlegum afleiðingar hennar: ,,... þegar við skoðum langtímastefnumótun Bandaríkjanna í Miðausturlöndum þá eru þeir að reyna að sporna við útþenslustefnu Írans sem þeim og stuðningsmönnum þeirra stendur veruleg ógn af. Íranar hafa verið að styrkja stöðu sína allverulega á síðustu árum og síðustu tveimur áratugum í Líbanon, Sýrlandi, Jemen og víða í Miðausturlöndum. Bandaríkjamönnum og Sádi-Aröbum þykir orðið nóg um og grípa í rauninni til þessara drastísku aðgerða til þess að reyna að senda Teheran skýr skilaboð: Hingað og ekki lengra.“

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Foreign Policy of Small States: Armenia and Iceland

Foreign Policy of Small States and the Shelter Theory. Presentation at the Faculty of International Relations, Yerevan State University, Armenia, 18 December 2019.

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Can Iceland have a say in the European Economic Area?

New policy brief - Iceland's role in the European Economic Area (EEA): take it or leave it, Trans European Policy Studies Association, TEPSA Briefs, November 2019.

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Shelter Theory in a nutshell

A policy brief on Shelter Theory has been published by the National University of Singapore and the Middle East Institute in Singapore.

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