|Religion||Icelandic Evangelical Lutheran Church (62%), no religion (8%), Catholic (4%), other (26%)|
|State system||parliamentary republic|
|Head of State||Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson|
|Head of government||Katrin Jakobsdóttir|
|Currency name||Icelandic Krona (ISK)|
|Time shift||-1 hour (in summer -2 hours)|
|Nominal GDP (billion USD)||22.1|
|Economic growth (%)||3.7|
Iceland is the smallest of the Nordic countries (103 thousand km2). The mainland consists of an island of volcanic origin extending at the interface of the Eurasian and North American lithospheric plates. A lot of seismic and volcanic activity results from this location. Nine out of ten residents live in urban areas, and almost two-thirds of the entire population live in the metropolitan area of the capital, Reykjavík. The interior of the island is mountainous and practically impassable for most of the year. The climate of Iceland is mild oceanic in the south, subarctic in the north, the weather is generally cold and rainy.
Iceland is a technologically advanced country with unique know-how in a number of areas. Geothermal resources and the power of short, rapid mountain rivers are used by Icelanders to produce energy (thermal and hydropower plants), which is also used in energy-intensive industries (metallurgy, greenhouse cultivation of fruits and vegetables). The pillars of the current economy are fishing, the aluminum industry, information technology, and incoming tourism, which is gradually reviving after the slowdown during the pandemic. Exports are dominated by aluminum, fish and their products. Per capita, Iceland’s catch is the largest in the world. In agriculture, some import protection measures are applied to protect Icelandic species of sheep, horses and cattle. The development of data centers can be included among the promising sectors with expected dynamic development in the coming years.
In 2020, the pandemic significantly affected the tourism sector and the economy collapsed by 7%. The year 2021 has already brought a recovery in economic growth of 3.7%. and for 2022 the government is even more optimistic (expecting 5.3% growth). As a result of mass layoffs in the tourism industry, registered unemployment in the country rose to 8% during the pandemic, although it has currently fallen to around 5%. The inflation rate will probably hover around 5% during 2022, which is the highest since 2013.
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Basic information about the territory
- System of governance and political tendencies in the country
- Foreign policy of the country
The system of governance and political tendencies in the country
The official name of the country is the Republic of Iceland (Lýðumbrið Ísland). Since independence in 1944, Iceland has been a parliamentary democracy headed by a president whose constitutional powers are limited and whose office stands outside day-to-day politics. The president is elected by direct election for 4 years. Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson has been the president since August 2016, whose second mandate began in 2020. State power is effectively shared between the parliament, the government and the Supreme Court. The legislative body of Iceland is the unicameral Alþingi parliament, which has 63 members. The election period is four years. The last elections were held in September 2021. The majority government was formed by the same parties as in the previous election period – the Independence Party (24.4% of the vote in the elections), the Progressive Party (17.3%) and the Green Left (12.6%). In opposition are the Social Democratic Alliance (9.9%), the Center Party (5.4%), Pirate Party (8.6%), People’s Party (8.8%) and Reform Party (8.3%). The next elections are planned for autumn 2025. Check computerminus to learn more about Iceland political system.
Composition of the government:
- Prime Minister: Katrín Jakobsdóttir
- Minister of Finance and Economy: Bjarni Benediktsson
- Minister of Infrastructure: Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson
- Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture: Svandís Svavarsdóttir
- Minister of Health: Willum Þór Þórsson
- Minister of Foreign Affairs: Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir
- Minister of the Interior: Jón Gunnarsson
- Minister of Science, Industry and Innovation: Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir
- Minister of Education: Ásmundur Einar Daðason
- Minister of Labor and Social Affairs: Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson
- Minister of Environment and Natural Resources: Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson
- Minister of Tourism, Trade and Culture: Lilja Alfreðsdóttir
Foreign policy of the country
With regard to Iceland’s geographical location and its history linked to the European continent, the country’s foreign policy orientation is fully based on the Euro-Atlantic value framework. Iceland has traditionally relied on strong ties with the US and the EU. It is one of the founding members of NATO and has had a bilateral defense agreement with the USA since 1951. Iceland is part of the European Economic Area and since 2001 has also participated in Schengen cooperation. In 2009, the Icelandic government submitted an application to the EU, but withdrew it a few years later (2015). An important element of Iceland’s foreign policy is cooperation with the Nordic and Arctic countries, whether within the framework of multilateral platforms such as the Nordic Council or the Arctic Council, or bilaterally. Iceland is also a member of the OSCE, UN, UNESCO, FAO, ILO, OECD, IMF, WTO, EFTA, Inmarsat, Intelsat and Interpol. Check relationshipsplus for Iceland defense and foreign policy.
Population: 368,792 (as of 1/1/2021)
Population density: inhabitants. km2
Annual increase: 7,456 people (2021-2022)
Demographic composition (including nationalities, religious groups): In total, 86.1% of the population are Icelanders, 13.9% are foreigners: the most numerous national minorities include citizens of Poland (21,000), Denmark (4,000) and Lithuania (3 thousand). As of January 1, 2021, 792 Czech citizens lived in Iceland (-59/year). Over 62% of the population subscribes to the Icelandic Evangelical Lutheran Church. About 4% of Roman Catholics are registered.