World event in Reykjavík

The summit of the Council of Europe is now being held in Reykjavík, and this is only the fourth summit of the council since it was founded in May 1949. The member states of the council are 46, all European states except Belarus and Russia, which were expelled from the council after the invasion of Ukraine last year. According to the founding document of the Council of Europe, which is based in Strasbourg, France, it is intended to strengthen the cooperation of the member states with the aim of safeguarding democracy, human rights and the general quality of life of the continent’s inhabitants. Katrín Jakobsdóttir launched the summit, which was held due to the ongoing conflicts in Europe, climate change, human rights violations and other very important topics. “We are not coming together to celebrate, but in the shadow of war. The Russian invasion into Europe is the most serious attack on European peace since World War II”. Volodymyr Zelensky, the next to speak through teleconference equipment from Kiev, was expected to attend the meeting in person. But he sent the Prime Minister in his place. Then French President Macron, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and finally Polish President Andrzej Duda spoke. All of them agreed on a strong and continued support for the Ukrainians, and condemnation of the actions of the Russians. After that, case work began, which will last until tomorrow, when the meeting ends.

Icelandic Times / Land & Saga, was of course in Harpa, documenting this world event.

Before the summit Katrin Jakobsdóttir met with Ursula Von der Leyen,  president of the European Commission in Ráðherrabústaðurinn. It was Ursula’s first time in Iceland

In a press conference after the meeting, an agreement between the EU and Iceland about special solutions for Iceland’s Co2 emissions from flying back and forth from the island was announced.

 A warm welcome from Katrín to Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in Harpa

Mette Frederiksen, the Prime Minister of Denmark talking to journalists

The German delegations arriving at Harpa, Olaf Scholz the Chanceller of Germany can be seen in the middle

 Olaf Scholz the Chancellor of Germany with Katrín Jakobsdóttir (r) and Marija Pejčinović  Burić,  Secretary General of the Council of Europe (l)

A part of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra played beautifully as the leaders entered Harpa

Journalists waiting for their spots and booking interviews

Journalists on their way to the opening of the summit

Katrín opening the summit

Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine, gave a speech via satellite

 Macron, President of France giving a speech

Olaf Scholz. Chancellor of Germany was worried about Russia

A “family photo” of the leaders

The security at Harpa is tight, all nearby streets are closed for any traffic except for the guests of the summit, journalists and the staff directly surrounding the summit


Photographs & text: Páll Stefánsson
Reykjavík 16/05/2023 : A7R IV, RX1R II, A7C, A7R III : 2.0/35mm Z, FE 1.8/20mm G, FE 1.8/135mm GM, FE 1.2/50mm GM