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James Martin took over Prince Charles’ kitchen as royal warned ‘blow our heads off!’

James Martin, 49, is not unfamiliar with royal encounters and has met Prince Charles on a few occasions over the years. The Saturday Morning host had the opportunity to take over the Prince of Wales kitchen for an evening as he hosted an event at Clarence House.

The TV chef confessed it can often be “awkward” when cooking for notable people including royals and celebrities.

Speaking on Saturday Kitchen, James was later joined by the Prince of Wales where the latter made a cheeky comment.

It comes after the TV chef detailed to the royal what he planned to cook for him ahead of the banquet.

James began: “This is Clarence House. Home of Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall.

READ MORE: Our Yorkshire Farm’s Amanda Owen slams critic ‘Not a star!’

“He’s making fresh horseradish sauce,” James explained.

While the royal appeared impressed by the meal he couldn’t help but issue a warning to the chef for making a fresh condiment sauce.

“Oh my God. Well, that will blow our heads off,” Prince Charles joked, in reference to the horseradish sauce.

Later in the clip, James praised the royal for his passion for food and supporting homegrown British products.

The event took place in 2014 when James previously worked as a presenter on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen.

The Yorkshire-born chef quit the programme in 2016 and now fronts his popular self-titled cooking programme Saturday Morning.

Taking to Twitter, James explained that he will be back filming new episodes next month.

He penned: “Sorry but we always have a summer break as sport is on normally and the Olympics… back in the studio next month.”

James Martin’s Saturday Morning airs today on ITV at 9.25am.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Celebrity News

Florida Dems to Biden: Don’t blow ‘golden opportunity’ on Cuba

MIAMI — Donald Trump and the GOP dominated Florida’s elections last November in part due to the former president’s hardline Latin America policy and rhetoric.

Now, in Cuba’s historic uprisings, Florida Democrats see what many are calling a “golden opportunity”: a chance for President Joe Biden to help bring democracy to the island and, as a result, attract the Hispanic voters that he hemorrhaged eight months ago.

“This is a ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!’ opportunity,” said state Sen. Annette Taddeo, a Democrat from Miami who represents a district that Trump won. “We need to be the beacon of hope. There are people in Cuba protesting waving the American flag. That has never happened. We need to understand the moment we’re living in.”

Yet there are worries Biden could blow it by being too slow to move, too timid in his actions or by embracing the messaging from progressives who have been reluctant to denounce the Cuban regime in strong, unqualified and moralistic terms.

As the protests erupted across Cuba, Biden sent a message marked by its unambiguous language: the United States stands with those yearning to be free from the island’s “authoritarian regime.”

But others in his administration — and his party — were more circumspect in their choice of words. A State Department official suggested the demonstrations were out of “concern about rising COVID cases/deaths & medicine shortages,” but made no mention of the dictatorship’s repression. The chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, New York’s Gregory Meeks, made a similar statement that also said nothing of the totalitarian government in Cuba, as did Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Those subtle distinctions in language — such as explicitly calling out the dictatorial practices of the Cuban government before anything else — make a world of difference in battleground Florida.

To that end, the Florida Democratic Party’s resolutions committee approved a measure Tuesday night calling for “additional sanctions against the leaders of the failed socialist-communist regime.”

“People are taking to the streets chanting ‘Libertad’ [liberty!]. They’re not chanting ‘Vacuna!’ [vaccines!],” said Javier Fernandez, a son of Cuban exiles and a former Democratic state representative from Miami who authored the resolution, which needs to be approved by the full party’s executive committee.

Fernandez said the party “needs to be clear about what we stand for.”

“There’s a concern by some in the party that if we condemn what happens in Cuba that we’re somehow making a moral judgment on the most progressive elements of our party who have described themselves as Democratic socialists,” he said. “That concern about offending certain progressive elements in the party is why you see statements of the kind from the likes of Congressman Meeks. It’s a false equivalence that only hurts Democrats here in the U.S. and in South Florida, in particular.”

Fernandez saw firsthand how the lack of clear messaging about socialism helped doom his state Senate campaign in November as Trump and down-ballot Republicans attracted an unprecedented percentage of voters with had family ties to Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua or Colombia, where nominally socialist governments or movements led to mass migrations to Florida, particularly in its largest county of Miami-Dade.

Biden won once-deep blue Miami-Dade by only 7 percentage points in 2020 compared with Hillary Clinton’s 29-point margin four years before. If Democratic candidates fail to carry Miami-Dade by more than single digits, it’s nearly impossible for them to win the state.

Trump’s performance was so strong in Florida — and he gained so much ground with Hispanic voters — that it led national Democrats to talk in earnest about focusing more in the future on emerging swing states like Arizona and Georgia.

Florida became such an afterthought for Biden’s political operation that his White House didn’t stage a public rally and media blitz in the state to announce its decision in March to grant temporary protected immigration status to Venezuelans who fled the Maduro regime, which is allied with Cuba’s government. In May, when Biden granted TPS to Haitians, Miami Democrats likewise felt his administration should have done more to capitalize on the announcement.

The failure to highlight the administration’s efforts on immigration policy confused and disappointed Florida Democrats, leading some to fear Biden was writing off the state.

“I don’t know why I had to find out about Venezuelan TPS from the news media,” said Taddeo. She said she wanted to make sure that Biden’s administration didn’t repeat the same mistake of underplaying its hand regarding Cuba.

Taddeo and Florida pollster Fernand Amandi, a Democrat and son of Cuban exiles, said Biden needs to come to Miami and articulate a clear policy to stand with the Cuban people and bring non-military international pressure to bear on the island’s government as it cracks down on demonstrators.

Amandi said it was a “golden opportunity” for both countries to change history.

“What happened this past weekend is what 12 previous U.S. presidents were waiting for: the uprising of the Cuban people themselves as they stand up against their communist overlords,” Amandi said. “President Biden’s initial statements on the events in Cuba have captured both the right policy and the right politics. However, the events in Cuba demand more than statements and the president is going to have to engage on this issue.”

So far, Miami Democrats have been pleased to see that the Biden administration remains less aligned with Meeks and more in step with his Democratic counterpart in the Senate, Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez (N.J.), who is also the son of Cuban exiles and has made sure to focus on the totalitarian nature of the Cuban dictatorship that led to the protests on the island.

Biden has privately sought Menendez’s counsel regarding Cuba — a sharp contrast with former President Barack Obama, who secretly hashed out a rapprochement with Cuba that eased restrictions in 2015. Though the U.S. unilaterally eased relations with Cuba, the dictatorship didn’t change its behavior, leading to a backlash among Latin American exile voters in South Florida.

The delicate balancing act for Biden extends beyond the congressional divide within his party and touches on the tricky question of immigration and political asylum for Cubans. Under Obama, the U.S. ended the so-called wet foot/dry foot policy that essentially gave Cubans a pathway to citizenship if they landed on U.S. soil. Officials are now concerned that Cubans could leave en masse from the island — creating a crisis akin to the 1980 Mariel Boatlift.

On Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told Cubans and Haitians to not come to the U.S. — an ironic message from an official who migrated from Cuba himself.

That approach concerned Florida Democrats who fear that the White House still doesn’t consider Cuba or Haiti — which is also in crisis after its president was assassinated — as high priorities. While the administration has been forced to pay more attention now, White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday declined to say how Cuba ranks as a priority, or whether the president would make good on his campaign trail promise to roll back Trump-era sanctions on the island.

Biden deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said Biden is in the process of fulfilling his promise to the Cuban people and pointed to Biden’s long record of opposing “the oppression and human rights abuses of Cuba’s communist, authoritarian government. This is about fundamental values that the President has long championed. He’s committed to forming his policies toward Cuba based on two principles: that standing up for democracy and human rights is paramount, and that Americans — especially Cuban-Americans — are the best ambassadors for freedom and prosperity in Cuba.”

The Biden administration also disputes criticisms of U.S. sanctions by noting that the Cuban government is able to get food and medical supplies, and it has refused to make its Covid-19 vaccine available for scientific peer review while also refusing to join an international consortium designed to get more people vaccinated worldwide.

Guillermo J. Grenier, a Florida International University professor who conducts a well-regarded poll of Cuban-American voters, said his research last year showed that a majority supported lifting sanctions on Cuba to help with the pandemic. Grenier said it’s good policy and politics — especially if Biden makes medical supplies and vaccines easier for Cuba’s people to receive.

Grenier and other Cuba experts noticed in the Trump years that new arrivals to America were becoming increasingly and unexpectedly Republican because their relatives on the island were spreading the word that the GOP knew how to fight the regime of Raul Castro and his successor, Miguel Díaz-Canel.

“You wonder why all these new arrivals are crazy for Trump, it’s because it starts there. People in Cuba say you need to go to the Republican Party because they know how to handle the Cuban government,” Grenier said. “But if Biden were to do that — to help the people in their time of need with vaccines, at least — they would remember that and he would immediately raise the profile of the Democratic Party, of himself and dim the bright orange of Trump.”

While Democrats have had mixed messaging in their recent response to Cuba, Republicans have been unified in calling for tougher sanctions and denouncing repression on the island.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a Miami native and son of Cuban immigrants, is up for reelection next year and has turned his Twitter account into a nonstop feed featuring video clips of Cuban protesters being beaten, reports of Venezuelan authorities rounding up political opponents and even the on-air arrest of a Cuban woman being interviewed by a Spanish TV station.

And Miami-based Republican Rep. Carlos Gimenez excoriated State Department Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Julie Chung for her tweet about Covid-19 that failed to mention the dictatorship. Chung subsequently tweeted critical statements about repression of the Cuban and Venezuelan governments.

“Democrats are dead in the water in Florida, and statements like Meeks’ are why,” said Carlos Trujillo, a son of Cuban exiles and former Republican state legislator who served as ambassador to the Organization of American States. “We’ve labeled them as socialists and communist sympathizers. And they deny it. Well, prove it. They can’t.”

Passion is so intense in Miami’s exile community that people have taken to the streets in solidarity with the Cuban people, and the city’s moderate Republican mayor, Francis Suarez, has said that Biden should consider military options if the repression continues on the island.

“The thing folks who aren’t directly familiar with Miami need to remember — there is a roadmap to winning back Hispanics from exile communities, but it starts with recognizing for most down here, Cuba is an absolute pass-fail test,” said Steve Schale, a veteran of Obama’s presidential Florida campaigns who also leads a pro-Biden super PAC, Unite The Country.

Ric Herrero, executive of the pro-engagement Cuba Study Group, said calls for military action are dangerous and counterproductive. Herrero credited the uprising to the spread of social media and Obama-era engagement policies. He said it’s time for Biden to lead and sell his policy.

“What Trump did so well is show up and make people on the ground feel like they have a direct line to Washington,” Herrero said. “It’s not just adopting the right policy: you have to sell it. Why he won’t do that in South Florida is a mystery … It has been missed opportunity after missed opportunity to change the narrative in South Florida and hold the failures of the Trump policies accountable.”

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This post originally posted here Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories

‘About time!’: Cruise ships banned from Venice lagoon in latest cruise holiday blow

Cruises, including popular Mediterranean routes, have made a stop at Italy’s Venice for many years. While this destination is a favourite among tourists, cruises will no longer be able to visit from August.

The decision was made after pressure from various groups, cabinet sources stated.

The United Nations culture organisation UNESCO reportedly threatened to put Italy on the blacklist if liners were not banned from the area.

Those hoping to step foot in Venice during a cruise only have until August 1 to do so before the ban comes in.

However, with travel restrictions still up in the air, it is unlikely many cruise passengers will be heading to the World Heritage site again.


From August 1, ships weighing more than 25,000 tonnes will not be allowed access to the shallow Giudecca Canal that leads past the famous landmark Piazza San Marco.

On average, cruise liners weigh four times the new limit at up to 200,000 tonnes.

This means only small passenger ferries and goods vessels can access the canal.

There have been campaigns to stop cruise ships visiting Venice for many years.

Others followed on social media and commented on the decision.

One posted: “About time” while another added: “This is important”.

A third wrote: “Those giant ships barely fit through Venice. They never belonged there.”

Another added: “This is very good news!”

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This post originally posted here Daily Express

GTA 6 release date BLOW: Fans face four-year wait for NEW Grand Theft Auto Vice City

It appears Rockstar Games is in no rush to release the next game in the Grand Theft Auto saga.

GTA 6 is easily one of the most hotly anticipated games of all time, and it hasn’t even been announced yet.

Unfortunately, however, the latest reports suggest that fans are facing a wait of up to four years for the launch of Grand Theft Auto 6.

That’s according to a new leak posted by Tom Henderson, who previously (and correctly) leaked details of Battlefield 2042 and the new Call of Duty.

In his latest video on YouTube, Henderson claims that Grand Theft Auto 6 will have a 2025 release date.

If the reports are true, then the gap between the release of GTA 5 and GTA 6 will be a whopping 12 years.

On a more positive note, GTA 6 will reportedly be set in a modern day version of Vice City, which is definitely one of the more popular locations.

Previous rumours hinted at a 1980s setting, and in more than one location across the globe.

Similar to GTA 5, the next Grand Theft Auto game could feature multiple playable characters.

One of the more surprising suggestions is that GTA 6 will feature an ever-evolving map.

This would bring it more in line with live service games like Fortnite, which routinely adds new points of interest to its map as the seasons go by.

With this in mind, the suggestion is that GTA Online could adopt a Battle Pass system, much like Fortnite.

Of course, it’s all speculation until Rockstar actually reveals GTA 6, which judging by the reports, won’t be for a long time.

As previously reported, Rockstar parent company Take-Two remains happy with the amount of money coming in from GTA Online.

The sustained success of GTA Online means Rockstar is in no rush to release a new game in the GTA series.

While that’s bad news for fans, the flipside is that the next GTA should launch in a much healthier state than rushed open-world games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Fallout 76.

It’s also worth remembering that GTA 5 is getting a PS5 and Xbox Series X upgrade later this year, complete with improved visuals and smoother performance.

Author: Liam Martin
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Gaming

How minerals and rocks reflect rainbows, glow in the dark, and otherwise blow your mind

Minerals are the non-living building blocks of the natural world. They form rocks, strengthen our bones and teeth, and even allow our blood to carry oxygen. But even when minerals aren’t assembled into a majestic mountain range or keeping the human body running, they’re still pretty neat.

There are thousands of recognized minerals out there (5,703 to be exact) with many more yet to be discovered. And they come in more hues than you can imagine. “All the colors of the rainbow occur in minerals,” and more, says George Rossman, a mineralogist researching mineral spectroscopy at the California Institute of Technology.

Beyond the striking displays that we see by daylight, many minerals glow with hidden colors under ultraviolet rays. And the coolest part is, their shining colors and otherworldly fluorescence are all thanks to a few small tweaks and imperfections.

What even is a mineral?

Minerals are “considered to be naturally occurring, inorganic solid substances,” Rossman explains. But he says even that definition can sometimes get “fuzzy.” “If a tree decays and leaves some crystalline material behind. Is that mineral or is it a biological material?” he asks. 

Nonetheless, most mineralogists agree that their study objects are solid compounds formed by natural processes and characterized by a single chemical composition and crystal structure. Rocks are made up of many different minerals mixed together, and gemstones are particularly structurally perfect pieces of mineral crystals.    

Although minerals are classified based on their ideal “pure” composition and form, “we’ve got to recognize that nature has 80 some different elements to play with,” Rossman says. “There are little bits of all sorts of minor components. You rarely get something absolutely chemically pure in nature.” Mineral formation is a chemical reaction. The impurities that end up in a mineral and the atomic structure both come from the environment and circumstances it crystalizes in.

[Related: Why can’t we see more colors?]

Further, the classification of a mineral not only depends on its chemical makeup, but also its internal atomic arrangements. “Kyanite, andalusite, and sillimanite are three minerals we find in metamorphic rocks that have exactly the same chemical formula, but different structures,” says Rossman. He also points to one of Earth’s most common minerals, olivine, as an example. Olivine is found at relatively shallow depths in the planet’s mantle, he explains, “but as we go to higher and higher pressures, deeper in the Earth, it transforms into other structural arrangements that are given other names.”

What causes minerals’ wide variety of colors?

The way a material absorbs and reflects different wavelengths of light determines its color. For instance, leaves on a tree are green because chlorophyll absorbs red and blue light, reflecting green and yellow wavelengths back to your eye. 

Knowing how minerals are classified can help us understand why they display so many different colors. Both chemical impurities and atomic structure play a role in color because of how they change a mineral’s light-absorption spectrum.

The mineral collection at the American Museum of Natural History represents almost any color imaginable. From left to right in rows: cuprite, vanadinite, wulfenite (1), wulfenite (2), smithsonite (1), pyromorphite, smithsonite (2), malachite, chrysocolla, malachite with azurite, azurite with malachite, smithsonite (3). Photos: D. Finnin/©AMNH

For instance, a ruby gets its brilliant red color by swapping a little bit of chromium for aluminum in its formula. But if you take the same formula and add titanium or iron instead for chromium, you get a sapphire, says George Harlow, a mineralogist and curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Both of the gems are impure versions of the transparent mineral corundrum.

[Related: How humans created colors for thousands of years]

The same chromium (Cr 3+) that makes rubies red can also lead to the formation of bright green emeralds, due to differences in molecular structure, Rossman explains. In rubies, the chromium atoms are positioned close oxygen atoms. In emeralds, the oxygen and chromium sit farther apart, shifting how the molecules absorb light. 

Why do some rocks glow?

If color is the way a mineral interacts with light, fluorescence is an extension of that.

Light is a form of energy. With non-fluorescent colors, what we see is the result of minerals selectively reflecting wavelengths of light from an outside source back to our eyes. But with fluorescent colors, what happens is a mineral takes in energy from a light source and then produces its own new wavelengths of light.

Some minerals are so fluorescent that you can experience the effect in full sun. Others require higher-energy ultraviolet rays to trigger wavelengths strong enough for human eyes to detect. That’s why when you look at a neon highlighter or a white shirt under a black light, they seem to glow. Both highlighters and white clothing often rely on UV-reactive dyes to look extra-bright in daylight, so they’re fluoresce a little bit in the sun. Under the targeted, high energy rays from the black light, though, their fluorescence is even more obvious.

About 600 minerals are confirmed to glow in the dark, says Glen Waychunas, a mineralogist who studies fluorescence and spectroscopy at the California Institute of Technology. He adds that it’s common in certain places where geological places, like Franklin, New Jersey, where the famed Sterling Hill Mine sits.

Just like with color, fluorescence in minerals is often the product of impurities, called activators. These elements react with UV light to produce fluorescent colors, working in tandem with the minerals they’re in. Some may exhibit different colors with the same activators, and others may not glow at all. In addition, there are impurities called “quenchers” that can stop an activator from working, even if all other conditions are right. And if there’s too much of a single activator, it can “quench” itself, preventing fluorescence. It’s a complex interplay between different atoms.

Structure is also important for understanding fluorescence. Mineral defects, which are like typos or misprints in the structural scaffolding, can leave a little extra space in the matrix—providing a gap for excited electrons to move around in. The particles then absorb energy and dance it out as colorful wavelengths of fluorescent light, even when no activating compounds are present.

Where can I see glowing and rainbow-colored rocks?

This summer, take advantage of the mild weather and explore the geological formations around your home. You might just catch some fluorescence in action. For the best odds, Waychunas recommends minerals hunting at night with a UV flashlight. “Go to an [old] quarry or go to a place with just an outcrop of rocks,” he says. “People will be surprised at what they might find.” Even in areas where fluorescent rocks are less common (this website can tell you what’s good in your neighborhood), the infill at construction sites or landscaping gravel brought in from elsewhere can offer a secret treasure trove of glow. “It’s just another interesting viewpoint of nature to see this phenomenon everywhere,” Waychunas says.

If you strike out searching on your own, you can probably find fascinating examples of fluorescence at your local natural history museum. In New York City, the American Museum of Natural History has a brand new mineral and gem exhibit, where you can see all of the pictured minerals above in person.

Author: Lauren Leffer
This post originally appeared on Science – Popular Science

When can we go on holiday again? Boris Johnson delivers crushing blow to green list hopes

On a visit to a laboratory in Hertfordshire, he appeared to suggest incoming “hassle” for prospective travellers.

He said Brits would have to navigate a “difficult year for travel”.

Mr Johnson added “delays” may emerge as the Government focuses on keeping “the country safe” and preventing “the virus coming back in”.

Although local restrictions could soon change, Brits face additional barriers when from other countries.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

England dealt Dean Henderson blow as Man Utd star withdraws from Euro 2020 through injury

Dean Henderson has been forced to withdraw from England’s squad for Euro 2020 after suffering a hip injury. The Manchester United goalkeeper has been replaced by Sheffield United’s Aaron Ramsdale in Gareth Southgate’s 26-man squad for the tournament.

Henderson was an unused substitute for England’s 1-0 win over Croatia at Wembley on Sunday and missed the squad’s subsequent training session on Monday.

England announced on Tuesday that they had decided to call up Ramsdale because Henderson’s injury would ‘continue to limit his involvement in training throughout the tournament.’

The 24-year-old goalkeeper will return to United for further assessment and rehabilitation ahead of the 2021/22 season.

Under UEFA rules, teams are allowed to replace goalkeepers because of injury at any point in the tournament and Ramsdale will join the squad at their St George’s Park training base after undergoing COVID-19 protocols.

JUST IN: Scottish boy sums up Scotland’s Euro loss in the most brilliant way

Speaking before Henderson’s withdrawal, United legend Rio Ferdinand expressed a belief the goalkeeper ‘still had a lot of work to do’.

“I think Dean Henderson has a lot to do still,” he said.

“He’s got to cement as his place as United’s No.1 before becoming England’s No.1.”

He then added: “He’s in the mix. I think that’s what he would have wanted. He was at Sheffield United last year, done remarkably well there.

“He’s come back to United and he’s pushing a goalkeeper who, for the last eight, nine years, has been one of the best goalkeepers around.

“For Dean Henderson just to be pushing him I think he’s done well.”

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

EU dealt huge blow as Iceland will ‘never’ join bloc after ‘complicated’ talks

Brexit: Cornwall shellfish merchant criticises government

Against all odds, Prime Minister Boris Johnson secured a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU after nine months of incredibly fraught negotiations. The deal is without a doubt a huge triumph for the Prime Minister, who two years ago won a thumping majority at the general election with the promise to “get Brexit done”. The journey there was not an easy one, though, as the FTA was preceded by a debilitating political period for both Brussels and the UK.

The EU currently has 27 other member states and perhaps not surprisingly, each one of these countries looks out for its own interests.

Until the end, one sticking point remained: fish.

And so a trade deal between the fifth-biggest economy on earth and the world’s largest free-trade bloc was nearly derailed on several occasions because of a dispute over whose fishermen could catch what fish, in what numbers, for how long, and in whose waters.

In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, historian and head of an Icelandic free-market think tank Hjörtur J. Guðmundsson argued the way the EU treated Britain during the talks, particularly in regard to fishing, has “shown Iceland why it should never join”.

He said: “Britain should have made sure fisheries were outside the trade agreement.

“Obviously the EU was not ready to accept that.

“And this whole issue with fisheries in the bloc is only making it less desirable for Iceland to consider joining the EU.

EU dealt huge blow as Iceland

EU dealt huge blow as Iceland will ‘never’ join bloc after ‘complicated’ talks (Image: GETTY)

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Brexit timeline (Image: GETTY)

“We have a lot of interests in the fishing industry as a large part of our economy relies on fisheries.

“So some people in Iceland are saying, ‘Just look at the way the EU is treating Britain!'”

He added: “They are not making a good example for countries like Norway and Iceland if they want these countries to join.

“They are not sending a good message.”

In 2015, Iceland’s former Prime Minister breathed a sigh of relief that his country never joined the EU.

Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson said: “I am pretty sure our recovery couldn’t have happened if we had been part of the EU.”

Mr Gunnlaugsson argued that if his country’s application, made in the midst of an economic collapse in 2009, had succeeded, then Iceland might have suffered a similar fate to Greece, with its long-running economic collapse, or Ireland, which saw its public debt skyrocket as the government took on the bad debts of the banking sector.

JUST IN: Sturgeon urged rest of UK to move to Scotland to escape Brexit

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Iceland (Image: GETTY)

He added: “We might have even gone the other way and become a bankrupt country.

“If all these debts had been in euros, and we had been forced to do the same as Ireland or Greece, and take responsibility for the debts of the failed banks.

“That would have been catastrophic for us economically.”

Today, Iceland is a world away from the fraught days of 2009, when Mr Gunnlaugsson’s predecessor, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, saw EU membership as a way of rescuing the country.

Yet the country’s EU application subsequently foundered.

Reluctance in both Brussels and Reykjavik to broach the awkward subject of fishing quotas slowed negotiations, while at home popular feeling changed as the North Atlantic island slowly dug its way out of trouble.

Mr Guðmundsson described the accession talks as “complicated”.

He said: “The government in power was divided on the issue. One party was in favour, the other one was not.

“It is very difficult to apply for EU membership. They are very complicated negotiations.

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Iceland’s former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson (Image: GETTY)

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Fishing was a contentious issue in the EU accession talks for Iceland (Image: GETTY)

“It is a complicated process, so having a split government did not help.”

In the end, Iceland suspended its EU bid in 2013, and Mr Gunnlaugsson withdrew the country’s application two years later.

Iceland’s membership of the EEA allows full access to the single market, its largest trading partner, but requires the country to accept EU rules such as free movement.

Legal issues are handled by the European Free Trade Area (Efta) court, which is independent and although its decisions are often informed by case law established by European Court of Justice (ECJ) rulings.

Norway and Liechtenstein are also members of the EEA and Efta.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed