The Icelandic Parliament will convene at Þingvellir today to mark the centennial anniversary of Iceland’s sovereignty from Denmark. The event will feature keynote speaker Pia Kjærsgaard, a Danish MP who has been outspoken about her anti-immigration and anti-diversity views.
Kjærsgaard is Speaker of the Danish Parliament and was invited to address the Icelandic Parliament at Þingvellir on behalf of the former. Kjærsgaard is one of the founders of the Danish People’s Party and was its leader from 1995-2012. Throughout her career, she has taken a vocal stance against immigration and multiculturalism. In 2001, in the DPP’s weekly newsletter, Pia referred to Muslims as people who “lie, cheat, and deceive.”
Many prominent Icelanders have criticised the government on the decision to invite Kjærsgaard. “It must be obvious that this choice of speaker insults, hurts, and diminishes Icelanders of foreign origin,” Viðar Thorsteinsson, general manager of Efling Workers’ Union, wrote in an open letter to the Speaker of the Icelandic Parliament. “Why are we giving individuals like this more space than they already have? This is exactly how we normalise the completely unacceptable attitudes and behaviour which we should reject completely.” tweeted Þórunn Ólafsdóttir, an activist who works with refugees in Iceland and abroad.
The Pirate Party of Iceland has boycotted the celebrations, calling the decision to invite Kjærsgaard “unjustifiable,” as there is no tradition of inviting foreign guests to address parliament in such meetings.
Secretary General of the Icelandic Parliament, Helgi Bernódusson, told Kjarninn the invitation was extended due to the treaty on sovereignty being signed between Iceland and Denmark on July 18, 100 years ago. “It is in every way appropriate that the Speaker of the Danish Parliament is here for this occasion,” Helgi stated.
Vísir reported yesterday that the Þingvellir celebrations are expected to cost ISK 70-80 million ($655 000-748 000/€563 000-643 000), 78% higher than the original budget estimate.