Iceland Maintains 14th Place on Annual Corruption Index

Iceland is in 14th place on Transparency International’s Annual Corruption Perceptions Index. The newly-released report measures corruption in 180 countries, with Denmark landing first in this year’s rankings and Somalia in last place.

Iceland maintains the same ranking and score it held last year. However, when the last decade is observed, its score has dropped from 82 in 2012 to 74 in 2022. On the scale used by Transparency International, 0 represents “highly corrupt” while 100 represents “very clean.”

Transparency International reports that the global average score has remained unchanged for a decade, at just 43 out of 100. “Despite concerted efforts and hard-won gains by some, 155 countries have made no significant progress against corruption or have declined since 2012.”

The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is the most widely used global corruption ranking in the world. It measures how corrupt each country’s public sector is perceived to be, according to experts and businesspeople. Each country’s score is a combination of at least 3 data sources drawn from 13 different corruption surveys and assessments. These data sources are collected by a variety of reputable institutions, including the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.

Iceland’s 2023 Eurovision Contenders Revealed

The ten songs that will compete to become Iceland’s 2023 Eurovision submission have been released by Iceland’s National Broadcaster RÚV. The songs will compete for the privilege to represent Iceland in Liverpool this May in the 67th edition of the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest. The songs will first have to make it through one of two Icelandic semi-finals, on February 18 or February 25, and the final held on March 4.

See also: Will this be Iceland’s Year?

The submissions are diverse as usual, ranging from powerful ballads to catchy electro-dance tunes and even a rock and roll-inspired number. All of the songs can be heard on a Spotify playlist featuring both the Icelandic- and English-language versions of each song. Söngvakeppnin, the Icelandic Eurovision pre-competition, requires all submissions to be sung in Icelandic, but many of the artists write an English version as well, intended for the international audience and potential Eurovision performance.

Successful Response to Extreme Weather

None were injured in the winter storm that hit Iceland yesterday, and response efforts went smoothly, representatives of the Icelandic Association for Search, Rescue, and Injury Prevention (ICE-SAR) and the Civil Protection and Emergency Management Department told Vísir. Efforts mostly consisted of assisting travellers who had gotten stuck in the snow. The weather has calmed across the country today and is expected to be calmer in the coming days, though with heavy precipitation.

Cars stuck in snow

Travellers required assistance in various regions, including the capital area, West Iceland, Southeast Iceland, and East Iceland. More than 10 cars got stuck in the Grafarholt neighbourhood of Reykjavík around 10:00 PM last night. Only one response centre for travellers was opened, in Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Southeast Iceland, and 34 travellers sought shelter there.

Hjördís Guðmundsdóttir, the Civil Protection Department’s Communications Officer, believes that the weather warnings released over the past two days served to prevent serious accidents. “We believe that people just decided to stand with us in all of this,” she stated.

Hotel Workers Vote in Favour of Strike

Efling hotel strike approved 2023

Efling Union members working at seven hotels in the capital area have voted in favour of a strike that will begin on February 7, RÚV reports. Efling chairperson Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir stated that 66% had voted in favour of the strike. The Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) believes the strike is illegal and has plans to file a lawsuit against Efling in the Labour Court.

Efling is Iceland’s second-largest workers’ union, with some 20,000 members. Only the workers at the affected hotels were permitted to vote on the strike, just under 300 members. According to Efling, the strike was approved with 124 votes cast in favour and 58 against. Seven voters did not take a stand on the matter. If Efling and SA do not reach an agreement by February 7, an indefinite strike will begin at the following hotels:

  • Fosshótel Reykjavík
  • Hótel Reykjavík Grand
  • Hótel Reykjavík Saga
  • Hótel Reykjavík Centrum
  • Fosshótel Baron
  • Fosshótel Lind
  • Fosshótel Rauðará

“We are, of course, proud of our work, but we are also proud of the members who went to the polls and managed to rise up, despite having been subjected to relentless illegal election propaganda, illegal, from the Icelandic Confederation of Enterprise; constant threats and interference from their employers and then of course this unprecedented and illegal mediation proposal by the state mediator,” Sólveig Anna stated. “Nevertheless, these people stood up for themselves and voted to strike in order to push for a better collective agreement.”

See Also: Efling Demands Labour Market Minister Intercede in Negotiations

Efling is the only union to have not yet finalised a collective agreement with SA in the latest round of negotiations on the Icelandic labour market. The union represents many of Iceland’s lowest-paid workers and has been particularly militant in its recent negotiations, citing the impact of inflation and rising costs of living on workers.