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Country Reports

Iceland Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Given the importance of the tourism sector, the Icelandic economy will be severely hit by the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) virus outbreak, with GDP projected to contact by more than 2.0% in 2020. The economy is gradually expected to recover in 2021, assuming the outbreak is contained. The Icelandic krona will remain under pressure, limiting the Central Bank’s ability to cut interest rates. Lower commodity price will limit the impact of the weaker currency on inflation.Government’s policy priorities will focus on response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. Regulatory restrictions will primarily impact the retail, hospitality, transport and tourism. Government is likely to prioritise small- and medium-sized (SMEs) businesses with any relief packages.Since October 2019, Iceland has been on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – a list of countries that have failed to take sufficient measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Until the country completely succeeds – some reforms are already under way – transactions to Iceland are likely to undergo greater scrutiny in some cases.
Last update: March 19, 2020

Operational Outlook

Iceland welcomes foreign investment, but with restrictions in some sectors, including the fishing industry. The country has an abundance of cheap and green geothermal energy. The workforce is flexible, skilled, productive, and heavily unionised; collective wage agreements are common. Unions are generally non-political and decentralised; however, the current leadership sees the unions as a tool for grand social change and is more willing to resort to strikes than in the past. This has been demonstrated by the ongoing strikes at the capital’s municipal services. In October 2019, Iceland was added to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list for insufficient anti-money-laundering legislation.

Last update: March 14, 2020

Terrorism

Low

Terrorism risks are negligible. There are few high-profile targets aside from a NATO radar station, and no known non-state armed groups operate in the country. However, Iceland has had some politically motivated attacks or attempts of attacks in the past. In 2012, a man detonated an IED outside the office of then-prime minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir in a disagreement over her policies; he has not been charged. According to the National Police Commission report, the Hells Angels motorcycle club has made threats against the Minister of Interior as part of the organisation's pushback against regulatory reforms concerning the fight against organised crime.

Last update: March 20, 2020

Crime

Crime rates in Iceland are very low by international standards. Violent crime is rare, despite a high rate of gun ownership. Organised crime is relatively minor and mostly perpetrated by Eastern European networks and motorcycle gangs. Petty crime is mostly concentrated in the capital, Reykjavík. The investigation and prosecution of financial crime has expanded exponentially since the 2008–09 financial and banking collapse, when a special prosecutor's office was established, the remit and resources of which have since been expanded. However, in October 2019, Iceland was added to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list owing to inadequate anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures.

Last update: March 18, 2020

War Risks

Iceland faces negligible risks of interstate or civil war, although the country occupies a key geostrategic location in the event of future global tensions. Despite being a NATO member, Iceland has no standing army, although it maintains a coast guard and air defences. NATO countries operate a periodic, rotating deployment of fighter aircraft to patrol Iceland’s airspace. Iceland disputes the ownership of Rockall Island and its surrounding oil reserves with the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Denmark. However, any disputes are likely to be resolved at the diplomatic level and remain extremely unlikely to lead to a military conflict.

Last update: March 14, 2020

Social Stability

Low

There is little support among the wider public for perceived 'anti-social behaviour’, which limits the incidence of disruptive activism. Political and environmental protests tend to be peaceful, aimed at raising awareness of relevant issues, and concentrated outside government offices in Reykjavík and not intended to cause disruption or damage to business operations. Political protests have become more regular in the aftermath of the protests that followed the country’s financial and banking collapse in 2008–09. Perceived corrupt practices will also remain a likely trigger of protests, as was the case in November 2019.

Last update: March 20, 2020

Health Risk

Elevated

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high
Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Low
Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Temperatures in the summer are mild and during this time (late may-mid-August), the sun sets very late in the day. At the end of June, the sun sets around midnight and rises at 3:00 am. The Aurora Borealis can be seen beginning in the end of August. In the winter, nights are very long and temperatures cool. November, December, and January are the darkest months of the year. Rain is common throughout the year and weather conditions can change several times within the same day.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +354
Police: 112
Fire Dept.: 112
Ambulance: 112

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019