Cost of Hosting Council of Europe Summit Exceeded ISK 2 Billion Skip to content

Cost of Hosting Council of Europe Summit Exceeded ISK 2 Billion

By Ragnar Tómas

Photo: Golli. Armed police outside Harpa during the Council of Europe Summit, May 2023.

Iceland spent over ISK 2 billion ($14.6 million / €13.5 million) to host the Council of Europe’s leadership summit last May, attracting 37 national leaders, representatives from 46 member states, and nearly a thousand guests. The meeting, which saw higher attendance than initially expected, led to significant security and logistical costs.

An inquiry from Inga Sæland

The total cost for Iceland hosting the Council of Europe’s leadership meeting in May last year amounted to over ISK 2 billion ($14.6 million / €13.5 million), RÚV reports. This was disclosed in a response from Bjarni Benediktsson, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, to an inquiry from Inga Sæland, the leader of the People’s Party.

As noted by RÚV, the meeting was well attended, with 37 national leaders and prime ministers, along with representatives from 46 member states of the Council of Europe, 65 foreign delegations, and nearly a thousand guests arriving. During the meeting, a resolution was adopted to create a register of damages caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to the Foreign Minister’s response, the expenses exceeded ISK 2 billion ($14.6 million / €13.5 million). The initial cost estimate was ISK 1.325 billion ($10 million / €9 million), based on expectations of a smaller scale event, as it was initially anticipated that only the foreign ministers of the countries would attend.

Costly security measures

The security measures enforced by the police incurred costs of ISK 1.56 billion ($11.4 million / €10.5 million). The meeting itself was estimated to cost ISK 843 million ($6.1 million / €5.7 million), with various other expenses, including the purchase and rental of equipment for ISK 369 million ($2.7 million / €2.5 million) and training for ISK 123 million ($900,000 / €830,000)

The cost for law enforcement exceeded initial estimates, partly owing to the fact that the foreign delegations were larger than expected and stayed in Iceland longer than planned. The Foreign Ministry incurred costs of ISK 423 million ($3.1 million / €2.9 million). As noted by RÚV, the most significant expenses were related to the meeting’s framework and the cost of renting and purchasing necessary equipment and interpreter services, each accounting for just over ISK 100 million ($730,000 / €675,000).

Isavia, which manages Keflavik and Reykjavik airports, reported expenses of ISK 22 million ($160,000 / €148,000) related to the arrival of the delegations.

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