Record Ring Road Traffic

The latest numbers from the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration show that July 2023 was a record-breaking month. According to IRCA, never before has there been more traffic on Route 1 in a single month.

July 2023 proved to be about seven per cent higher than July 2022. Year-on-year increases can be seen across the board, with 16 key figures being measured by IRCA. On average, nearly 125 thousand vehicles were recorded across Route 1 daily.

vegagerðin route 1
Daily average combined traffic. IRCA.

The largest increase was noted in and around the capital area. IRCA speculates that the increase is likely due to comparatively lower figures in the area compared to the season last year.

However, traffic in North and East Iceland decreased, compared to the same month last year, by 1.9% and 4.5% respectively.

 

ring road iceland
Sum of daily average traffic, in thousands. IRCA.

 

Total traffic has increased on all weekdays, with the most significant increase on Mondays, around 12.1%, and the least on Sundays, around 5.1%.

Friday was shown to be the busiest day, and Sunday the least.

IRCA expects the current increase to hold for the remainder of 2023. If this forecast holds, this would set a new annual traffic record on Route 1.

 

[visual-link-preview encoded=”eyJ0eXBlIjoiZXh0ZXJuYWwiLCJwb3N0IjowLCJwb3N0X2xhYmVsIjoiIiwidXJsIjoiaHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuaWNlbGFuZHJldmlldy5jb20vYXNrLWlyL2hvdy1sb25nLWRvZXMtaXQtdGFrZS10by13YWxrLWFyb3VuZC1pY2VsYW5kLyIsImltYWdlX2lkIjotMSwiaW1hZ2VfdXJsIjoiaHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuaWNlbGFuZHJldmlldy5jb20vd3AtY29udGVudC91cGxvYWRzLzIwMTgvMTIvZHNjODAwOC1lMTU0NDcwNjI5NjQ2NC5qcGciLCJ0aXRsZSI6IkhvdyBsb25nIGRvZXMgaXQgdGFrZSB0byB3YWxrIGFyb3VuZCBJY2VsYW5kPyIsInN1bW1hcnkiOiJJbiAxOTg1LCBSZXluaXIgUMOpdHVyIEluZ3ZhcnNzb24gd2Fsa2VkIGFyb3VuZCBJY2VsYW5kIGluIDMyIGRheXMuIFdhbGtpbmcgYXJvdW5kIEljZWxhbmQgaXMgcG9zc2libGUsIGJ1dCB3ZSBkb27igJl0IHJlY29tbWVuZC7igKYiLCJ0ZW1wbGF0ZSI6InNwb3RsaWdodCJ9″]

 

 

Debate Whether State or Municipalities Responsible for Rejected Applications

Guðrún hafsteinsdóttir

A deadlock has arisen in the cases of a group of applicants for international protection under the new immigration laws. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir has publicly called for the matter to be clarified, with Minister of Justice Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir stating that the law is quite clear: municipalities bear no responsibility for refugees and asylum seekers. RÚV reports.

Normally, individuals who have received a final rejection for protection have 30 days to leave the country. At the end of that period, they lose all services. But recently, a debate has begun centred around who should take responsible for this group of people, whether the municipalities or the state.

A need for clarity

The Minister of Social Affairs has recently stated that the municipalities should handle this group, but the municipalities argue that it’s the responsibility of the state. This debate has caused Prime Minister Katrín to weigh in on the matter, stating “Naturally, it cannot be expected that full services will be provided here when the administrative process in the protection system is completed, and the denial does not occur at just one but two administrative levels.”

The Prime Minister has acknowledged that there is a disagreement about the interpretation of the laws, and it’s important to resolve it. The matter was discussed at a cabinet meeting this morning.

The current debate is part of a long-standing discussion about the treatment and legal rights of refugees and asylum seekers in Iceland. Some in government have also looked to Nordic peers for possible solutions. Some Nordic countries limit services in stages in so-called departure facilities. On such facilities, Katrín stated: “It’s not an idea that I necessarily find appealing, but it’s evident that an explanation is needed about what comes next.”

Asylum seekers “responsible for themselves”

However, Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir, the Minister of Justice, has stated that the matter is quite clear legally. She says that the ultimate responsibility lies with the individuals who have come to this country and applied for protection.

“This group of people has undergone a two-stage administrative process, involving the Immigration Agency and the Immigration Appeals Board. The conditions that have been set as a basis have not been met,” she stated recently. “Their cases have been concluded, and a decision has been reached. The decision is that these individuals have not been granted protection in Iceland. Therefore, they cannot stay, and they should leave the country.

The Ministry of Justice believes furthermore that municipalities are not responsible for this group: “I emphasize that if municipalities wish to have a different approach, they can do so. The laws are clear, however. People must leave the country 30 days after receiving a rejection for protection.”

[visual-link-preview encoded=”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”]