Britain’s government said it signed a free trade deal with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein on Thursday, its latest post-Brexit trade agreement. The signing of the deal on Thursday followed an agreement in principle reached last month by the four countries.
The deal would help sectors including digital, financial and professional business services and cut tariffs for British exports, boosting a trading relationship worth £21.6 billion last year, the trade ministry said in a statement.
“Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein have gone further with us than any other FTA partner, including new cutting-edge digital provisions to enable slicker trade across our borders,” UK’s International Trade Minister Ranil Jayawardena said.
The UK is Norway’s top trading partner outside the EU, and in terms of their overall trade volumes, this deal is more significant for Norway and Iceland than it is for the UK.
At the same time, as London is no longer part of the European Common Fisheries Policy, it must deal directly with Oslo and British fishing fleets are keen to have access to the country’s sub-Arctic seas.
“Five days on and two off is a massive imbalance. Four on and three off would be much better,” a user from the UK said.
One user from the US said: “Once again reminded that a three day weekend/four day work week would do amazing things for our collective well being.”
Another from the US wrote: “Yet another, ‘DUH! We’ve been saying this for decades now!'”
“It’s time to make the three-day weekend permanent. Nothing will be lost except a lot of misery,” a third user from the US wrote.
Will Stronge, director of research at Autonomy, told the BBC: “This study shows that the world’s largest ever trial of a shorter working week in the public sector was by all measures an overwhelming success.
“It shows that the public sector is ripe for being a pioneer of shorter working weeks – and lessons can be learned for other governments.
“Iceland has taken a big step towards the four-day working week, providing a great real-life example for local councils and those in the UK public sector considering implementing it here in the UK.”
Last year, a poll conducted by Survaton found that 63 percent of the British public support shifting to a four-day work week with no pay reduction.
The poll found that only 12 percent were against the idea.
Following the success of the trial, around 86 percent of the workers in Iceland started to negotiate contracts with permanently shorter hours.
Gudmundur D Haraldsson, a researcher at the Association for Sustainability and Democracy, said: “The Icelandic shorter working week journey tells us that not only is it possible to work less in modern times, but that progressive change is possible too.
“Our roadmap to a shorter working week in the public sector should be of interest to anyone who wishes to see working hours reduced.”
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.
“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 will ‘never’ join bloc after ‘complicated’ talks (Image: GETTY)
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.
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.
Iceland’s former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson (Image: GETTY)
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.
The supermarket giant is taking shoppers back to the 80s with the return of Wall’s Funny Feet Ice Creams. They will be available in Iceland stores from tomorrow (Friday, May 14) and online from Tuesday, May 18.
The summery treats will cost £3 for a pack of six and it will be the first time shoppers have been able to get their hands on them since the 00s.
The ice creams were spotted on the NewFoodsUK Facebook page, where a post read: “Funny Feet Ice Cream Sticks are back and are exclusive to Iceland! These will be officially out next week, but have been spotted in store already!”
Excited shoppers were quick to reminisce about the summer lollies, one said: “Yes! I used to get this when I was wee from the ice cream van. This or a green frog ice lolly thing. Loved a funny feet!”
Another asked: “Where has the swirls and chocolate big toe gone?” And a third replied: “They are much smaller than they were years ago.”
Last month Iceland released another range of retro ice creams- and they are currently on sale for £2 a pack.
The flavours include childhood favourites such as Sherbert Fountain, Foam Banana, Nougat, Cola Bottle, Milk Bottle, Wham Bars, Strawberry Milkshake and Anglo Bubbly.
A Barratts range of lollies are dropping back in-store too. The original range of Flump, Fruit Salad, Black Jack and Dip Dab lollies sold out repeatedly in Summer 2020, and now the range is back, bigger and better than ever.
A food recall is issued by a supermarket or a brand when an item is unsafe to eat. This could be because there are traces of foreign materials in the food, or that it contains an ingredient that has not been declared on its label.
The supermarket added that no receipt is required when customers return the product to their nearest Tesco store.
The Twister Peak-A-Blue ice lollies come in a pack of five and all batches are affected.
The ice lollies are also sold separately in ice cream freezers.
Wall’s recalled the product first and a statement was also issued by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
The FSA publishes news of food recalls when a product is faulty and could cause damage to people if eaten.
In a statement about the Twister Peak-A-Blue ice lollies, the FSA said: “Wall’s is recalling Twister Peek-A-Blue ice lollies because they contain milk which is not mentioned on the label.
“This means the product is a possible health risk for anyone with an allergy or intolerance to milk or milk constituents.”
The organisation also mentioned that Wall’s has issued a point-of-sale notice to its customers, explaining why the product is being recalled and telling them what to do if they have bought the product.
Wall’s said: “The safety of the people that buy and use our products is always our number one priority, which is why we are taking the voluntary precaution of recalling all batches as it could pose a safety risk to those people with an allergy or intolerance to milk.”
The brand advised that customers should contact its careline team for further information, either by calling 0800 146252 or emailing [email protected]
Wall’s Twister Peak-A-Blue ice lollies are not only sold in Tesco, but in Sainsbury’s, Iceland, and Asda too.
As well as the ice lollies, Tesco is recalling one of its dairy products.
The President Mini Cheese Selection is being recalled by the supermarket as the item may contain nuts which are not mentioned on the label.
HOLLYWOOD — Residents of Iceland have embraced an Oscar-nominated song with a strong sense of local pride. The town’s main street has been painted red for citizens to create their own red carpet moments in honor of “Husavik.”
The song, which is about the little Icelandic town of Husavik, is nominated for Oscar’s Best Original Song. It’s featured in the Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams comedy, “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.” Award-winning songwriter and record producer Savan Kotecha is a behind-the-scenes pop music superstar – and one of the Oscar-nominated songwriters of “Husavik.”
“At this point in my career, I kind of want to just do something that was fun and unexpected. And, you know, Will Ferrell was attached to the movie. It’s kind of hard to say no to that, you know?” said Kotecha.
Residents of Iceland have embraced the song.
WATCH | Who do people thank after winning an Oscar?
“Yeah and it’s fun to see it played out in real life with, like, with Husavik, you know? They’re so proud and so–and are so excited,” said Kotecha.
In addition to literally painting the town red, the children of Husavik are committed!
“They’re closing schools the day after the Oscars so families can say up late and watch it!” said Kotecha. “I’m an Indian kid from Texas who was supposed to be a doctor or a lawyer so to be nominated for an Oscar is something I couldn’t have even imagined in my wildest dreams.”
Mark your calendars: April 25 is Oscar Sunday. Live coverage begins Sunday morning and continues all day with special “On The Red Carpet” coverage leading up to the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony. After the last award is handed out, stay with “On The Red Carpet” for continuing coverage. Be sure to follow @OnTheRedCarpet on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok for all your Oscar news and information.
A group of Icelandic volleyball players got together for a knock around this weekend, with the formidable backdrop of a volcano spewing out lava.
As the group was filmed playing at a location near their country’s capital Reykjavik, the volcano could be seen erupting in the background.
Naturally, footage of the incident has gone viral on social media.
Rut Einarsdottir was the lucky capturer of the eruption, which has already been seen by more than 1 million users.
“People casually playing volleyball at the volcano in Fagradalsfjall,” read her caption, before she followed the post up with more to share.
In one clip, she clinks coffee cups with an acquaintance while wrapped up in -12C (10.4F) conditions, before the camera swerves sideways to the historic goings-on.
The volcano had reportedly been dormant for 6,000 years, and is the first eruption in the local area for 800.
These developments are such an important event in Iceland that there is now a live stream from the site. Also on rt.comWATCH: Mesmerizing drone footage captures close-up of Fagradalsfjall volcano eruption in Iceland “The volcano itself was a spectacular and mesmerizing sight,” said Einarsdottir, and it is impossible to disagree.
Not everyone was bowled over, though.
“’Casually playing’”? Rather, [a] very planned location to play volleyball in order to make a viral video,” scoffed one Twitter user.
“Haha love the skepticism,” Einarsdottir coolly replied. “But I was just hiking with my friend (seen in other videos in thread) when we saw these people playing. I never imagined it’d blow up like this.
“It’s very Icelandic to play some outside activity like this close to magnificent nature.”
“Virtually other-worldly,” remarked a more impressed onlooker, as one individual wise-cracked that soon someone will come and put a “No Ball Games” sign up.