It’s a cold spring day in Reykjavík and winds buffet hopeful tourists in flip-flops. Above, the sky hangs low, an endless expanse of grey. Normal enough for May. Today, however, bulletproof, black limousines loiter in front of Harpa and reports of cyberattacks filter out of Alþingi. A helicopter belches shimmering-hot wakes of exhaust as it lists over Reykjavík rooftops. And on these rooftops, men on radios armed with binoculars and high-powered sniper rifles scan the city below.
For most Icelanders, these are sights only seen in the movies. This is the fourth-ever summit of the Council of Europe, and it’s likely the most important event hosted in the small island nation since the 1986 meeting of Reagan and Gorbachev.