Iceland at Frankfurt Book Fair, Opens on Political Note Skip to content

Iceland at Frankfurt Book Fair, Opens on Political Note

Icelanders have learned their lessons from the banking collapse with the economy’s restoration including their membership application to the European Union, according to Foreign Minister of Germany Guido Westerwelle’s opening speech at the Frankfurt Book Fair yesterday evening.


Icelandic authors at the opening ceremony.

This year Iceland is the fair’s guest of honor, which is being held for the 63rd time. Icelandic authors Arnaldur Indridason and Gudrún Eva Mínervudóttir also spoke at the opening, as did President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson and Mayor of Frankfurt Petra Roth, Fréttabladid and Morgunbladid report.

In his address, Indridason said that Icelanders are thankful and humble for being able to present their literature at the Frankfurt Book Fair and Mínervudóttir pointed out that Icelanders are a literary nation, however raising concern over recent news of the difference in literacy between the genders of elementary school children.

Westerwelle’s speech garnered considerable attention because of how political it was. He also directed his words towards other EU member states, declaring that the crisis they currently face is the continent’s largest in six decades, and urged politicians to be brave in fighting the crisis, reports.


The opening. From left to right: Prof. Dr. Gottfried Honnefelder, Westerwelle, Grímsson and his wife, Dorrit Moussaieff.

The solution does not lie in increased patriotism, Westerwelle stated, but rather increased collaboration among European nations.

Economic administration must be better coordinated to encourage economic growth with stricter budgetary policy and automatic sanctions for debt offenders, he added, also declaring full support for Iceland’s membership application to the EU.

According to Fréttabladid, Westerwelle is in favor of a speedy application process. He met both his Icelandic counterpart, Foreign Minister Össur Skarphédinsson and President Grímsson at the Frankfurt Book Fair’s opening ceremony.



The Icelandic pavilion. Photos by Bernhild Vögel.

It is the largest book fair in the world with around 7,500 exhibitors from more than 110 countries. It is expected that up to 200,000 people will visit the Icelandic pavilion.

Icelandic authors are already reaping the benefits of Iceland being this year’s guest of honor and have enjoyed much attention from foreign publishers.

Iceland Review will also be present at the book fair with our Germany correspondent Bernhild Vögel presenting our publications to attendees at hall 5.0, A933. The fair will continue throughout this weekend.

Click here to read other news relating to the Frankfurt Book Fair and here to read more about Iceland’s EU application.


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