BBC Newsnight recently ran a story on Iceland and its economy, concluding that Icelanders’ ‘tenacity’ helped lift the country out of crisis.
The program highlighted Iceland’s unemployment rate of around 5 percent and seven consecutive quarters of economic growth following ten quarters of shrinking GDP.
President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson told the BBC that the upswing was down to the Icelandic character. “Essentially we’re still a nation of farmers and fishermen... The economy is just not an echo of banks. It’s a community of people. If they don’t feel strong, it doesn’t matter whatever tax measure you adopt,” he said.
But, as teacher Neil McMahon, who has lived in Iceland for 38 years, told the BBC, life in Iceland is still tough for many. “I think for an outsider maybe just reading articles in the newspapers or watching brief coverage of Iceland on the TV, they might be fooled in thinking Icelanders have managed to extricate themselves very effectively from this crisis,” he said.
“However, there are still a lot of problems, and particularly with the younger generation; people who had huge mortgages and are now trying to deal with this situation.”
Watch the BBC program here.