New Government Agreement Expected at the end of the Month

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir is hopeful that the leaders of three coalition parties will successfully form a government, introduce a new government agreement, and present a national budget near the end of the month. Nearly two months have elapsed since the parliamentary elections.

Cleaning house, reading old reports

Since it became clear that the three coalition parties, which have been in power since 2017, would keep their majority following the elections on September 25, talks between the parties’ leaders have moved slowly. Meanwhile, new members of parliament have bided their time by cleaning their homes, reading old reports, and drafting parliamentary bills.

In an interview with RÚV yesterday, however, PM Katrín Jakobsdóttir stated the government agreement was nearing the homestretch: She is hopeful that a new government will be formed and a national budget introduced at around the end of the month.

The opposition critical of the delay

The leaders of the three parties have been criticized for the slowness of coalition talks by the opposition. When asked about such complaints, Katrín replied that it would have been unviable to convene parliament before the Credentials Committee arbitrated on the vote’s legitimacy in the northwest constituency. She expects the recount to stand.

“If the latter count stands, which should become clear after the weekend, we should be able to form a new government, submit a budget, and give a policy speech before parliament.”

When asked to give a specific date, Katrín referred to the end of the month. “I’ve been looking at November 29 as a possibility, but I’m hesitant to speak of a specific timeline; we need to see the committee’s results first.”

Asked if she was hopeful that she’d be able to form a new government by the end of the month, Katrín replied in the affirmative. “Yes, I’m very optimistic.”

Cordless Mice – Rodent-Related Internet Outage in South Iceland

The fibre-optic communication system in the Hrunamannahreppur municipality in South Iceland has seen two malfunctions recently, RÚV reports. The culprits? Mice – who appear to be drawn to the insulation tape protecting the cables.

As noted in his letter in the November issue of Pési, the municipality’s monthly newsletter, Director of the Local Council Jón G. Valgeirsson believes that more must be done to respond to the rodents’ encroachments.

While calling into question the nutritional value of insulation tape – and, thereby, the reasonability of the rodents’ actions – Jón G. Valgeirsson lauds the telecommunications company TRS for responding quickly to malfunctions traced to the mice’s voracity. Nonetheless, Jón believes that to keep the mice away from the cables, further action must be taken. In his letter, Jón G. goes so far as to accuse the mice of apathy: “I don’t believe they care,” he writes.

Jón G. Valgeirsson concludes his letter by encouraging more people to sign up for fibre-optic service: “We would happily receive more users residing í Flúðir to our fibre-optic communication system because it is necessary to the operation and maintenance of our society.”

Special “fibre-optic mice?

In a conversation with Iceland Review this morning, Jón G. Valgeirsson stated that there had been one mice-related malfunction since his letter was published. “They seem to be infiltrating the terminal boxes. We took some measures last year, but it appears that they weren’t adequate.”

“Other municipalities don’t seem to be having the same problem with their terminal boxes,” Jón continued. “It makes you wonder if there are some kind of special fibre-optic mice in Hrunamannahreppur.”

Reykjavík to Become 1 of 100 Climate-Neutral European Cities

downtown Reykjavík

Yesterday, City Council approved Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson’s proposal that Reykjavík City apply to the EU’s “Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities” initiative. A draft of the application is in the works, which if approved would see the city commit to climate-neutrality by 2030.

Concrete results by 2030

EU Missions are novel projects within the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme for 2021-2027. As noted on the European Commission’s website, EU Missions are “a new way to bring concrete solutions” to some of modernity’s most significant challenges.

Among the EU missions are “Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities,” which – as the title of the initiative suggests – aims to deliver 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030.

Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson proposed that the City of Reykjavík apply to the mission. Yesterday, City Council approved. As noted in a press release from the city, a special application team will be established to draft the document, although City Council is currently awaiting clarification from the EU regarding the mission’s terms of agreement.

4% of land area – more than 70% of emissions

In December of last year, Reykjavík’s City Council approved the Green Plan. One of the key pillars of the plan is complete carbon neutrality by 2040. With its application to “Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities,” it seems clear, however, that the city is intent on aiming higher (representatives could not be reached for comment at this time): “carbon neutrality” refers to annual, net zero anthropogenic CO2 emissions, whereas “climate-neutrality” extends to greenhouse-gas emissions other than carbon.

In order for Reykjavík to become one of Europe’s climate-neutral, smart cities, it must both “innovate and collaborate with the private sector, universities, and non-profits,” yesterday’s press release reads.

As noted on the European Commission’s website: “Cities play a pivotal role in achieving climate neutrality by 2050, the goal of the European Green Deal. They take up only 4% of the EU’s land area, but they are home to 75% of EU citizens. Furthermore, cities consume over 65% of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions. They will deliver impact by putting research and innovation into a new role, combined with new forms of governance and collaboration, as well as by engaging citizens.”