Past events at the Institute of International Affairs and the Centre for Small State Studies, Iceland, March-June 2015

Seminar series on European affairs in the spring semester


The Institute of International Affairs (IIA) at the University of Iceland and the Centre for Small State Studies (CSSS) organised a seminar series on EU matters during the spring semester. The series was organised in collaboration with the EU Info Centre in Iceland and its focus was contemporary issues in the European debate. The seminars included a mini series on the EEA agreement:


March 18. Topic: EEA agreement: Current status and future prospects. Speaker:

Ambassador Sverrir Haukur Gunnlaugsson, former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Panel discussion with leaders of all the political parties in Althingi (the Icelandic parliament).

April 10. Topic: EEA: State of Play and Future Challenges. Speakers: Andreas Schwab, MEP and rapporteur for a new report on the EEA and Switzerland in the EP; John Erik Fossum, Professor at ARENA, Centre for European Studies at the University of Oslo; and Johanna Jonsdottir, Senior officer at EFTA.

May 8. Topic: The future of the EEA agreement. Speakers: Stefan Haukur Johannesson, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iceland; Ingvild Næss Stub, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Norway; and Gianluca Grippa, Head of Division, Western Europe Unit, European External Action Service.


Other seminars in the series:

March 3. Topic: Animal welfare in Iceland and Europe. Speakers: Terrence Cassidy, Head of Sector for Animal Welfare at the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office and Thora Johanna Jonasdottir, Veterinary Officer for Pet Diseases and Animal Welfare at the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority.

March 26. Topic: Latvia – a small state with a big role. Speakers: Mr. Indulis Abelis, Latvia’s Ambassador to Iceland and Mr. Matthias Brinkmann, the EU’s Ambassador to Iceland.

March 31. Topic: Cross-border healthcare in Europe: Patients’ rights and the effect on the Icelandic healthcare system. Speakers: John Rowan, leader of the team working on the implementation of the cross-border healthcare Directive and Thorunn Oddny Steinsdottir, lawyer working in the office of health services in the Ministry of Welfare in Iceland.

May 21. Topic: Towards More Union in European Defence. Speaker: Steven Blockmans, Head of the EU Foreign Policy Unit of the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) and co-rapporteur of the CEPS Task Force on European Security and Defence.

June 2. Topic: The Effects of Climate Change on the Ocean Biosphere. Speakers included: Attilio Gambardella, Policy Officer at the Climate Action and Earth Observations Unit in the DG Research & Innovation of the European Commission and Kelly Rigg, Founder and Director of The Varda Group.


In addition to this the IIA and CSSS hosted open seminars on various other topics, including:

January 12. Topic: Shadows of the Cold War? Speaker: Caroline Kennedy, Professor of War Studies at the University of Hull.

February 3. Topic: Terrorism in Europe. Speakers: Magnus Thorkell Bernhardsson, Professor of History at Williams College and Gerard Lemarquis, teacher and correspondent for Le monde.

April 9. Topic: Night in Gaza: Why are Civilian Palestinians not protected by International Humanitarian Laws? Speaker: Mads Gilbert, Medical Director of the Clinic of Emergency Medical Services at the University Hospital North Norway (UNN) and Professor at the Arctic University in Tromsø in Norway.

May 11. Topic: Germany’s vision for Europe: Challenges and Prospects. Speaker: Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe at the German Federal Foreign Office.

May 15. Topic: Mediterranean Migrant Crisis. Speaker: Hugo Brady, speechwriter to the President of the European Council and advisor in the field of EU migration policy.