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NATO presence over Iceland reduced since financial crisis

Two Tupolev Tu 95 bombers photographed near the area by French Mirage 2000s deployed in June 2008 (credit: Air Force)

The economic crisis in Iceland also had repercussions on the military and NATO sides, as detailed in a telegram signed by Kurt Volker, then American ambassador to NATO, revealed by Wikileaks.

We know that since 2007, NATO allies have taken turns carrying out aerial surveillance of Björk's homeland... France being the first to “join” this exercise in May and June 2008 (operation Air Iceland 2008) . But the terms were revised at the end of 2008, at the request of the Icelandic government.

First of all, the dispute which was in full swing between the United Kingdom and Iceland – notably concerning the compensation of British citizens who had placed their money in the Internet bank Icesave which went bankrupt in 2008 – had a first consequence: the British gave up carrying out their surveillance tour, which was to begin in December 2008, on “order of the Icelandic government“. Then, it was agreed to reduce guard tours: from 4 to 3 per year. Finally, the countries sending planes were presented with a note: the food previously provided by the Icelanders is now charged at 26 euros / person / day. As for miscellaneous ground costs (landing taxes, etc.), they are now billed at 2000 euros per day for 5 planes.

The presence on the island, however, allows, as the author of the telegram specifies, both the crews concerned to train but also to “demonstrate NATO's presence in an Alliance area experiencing Russian encroachment".

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

One thought on “NATO presence over Iceland reduced since financial crisis"

  • “Finally, the countries sending planes were presented with a note: food previously provided by Icelanders is now charged at 26 euros / person / day. As for miscellaneous ground costs (landing taxes, etc.), they are now billed at 2000 euros per day for 5 planes.”

    I may turn the two sentences in all directions, I think I understood correctly: the country which sends its planes and its soldiers and therefore comes to defend Iceland, is not even compensated by this country. Am I the only one who finds this odd?
    The country that makes an effort, especially in these difficult budgetary times, to finance an army, must also pay to ensure the defense, certainly of one of its allies, but all the same...
    It's profitable not to have an army… you get paid, and you have your defense assured. Rather quiet.

    Or maybe it's me who's completely off the mark… but then I'd like someone to explain it to me.

    Thank you!

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