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France and Iceland

Political relations

Bilateral relations have traditionally been excellent, with broad agreement, particularly as regards environmental issues and combatting global warming.

French presence

Honorary Consulates: Akureyri, Ísafjörður, Egilsstaðir
French community in Iceland: 350 people

For the latest, visit the French Embassy in Iceland’s website

Visits

The most recent visit of the Icelandic President to France was on 11 November 2018 for the 1918 Remembrance Day centenary ceremonies and the Paris Peace Forum. The Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, attended the Paris Climate Conference on 12 December 2017. The French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, received his Icelandic counterpart, Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, in Paris on 1 October 2018. Mr Gourdault-Montagne, then Secretary General, received his counterpart, Mr Sigurjónsson, on 24 April 2019.

Further information on bilateral visits on the website of the French Embassy in Reykjavík (in French)

French Ambassador in Reykjavík: Graham Paul (since October 2017)
Twitter account: @FranceenIslande
Icelandic Ambassador in Paris: Kristján Andri Stefánsson (since August 2016)
Twitter account: @KristjanAStef

Economic relations

French-Icelandic cooperation is currently growing (France is Iceland’s 13th largest supplier and 6th largest customer). Over 60% of French imports involve fish and its by-products (another major sector is metal products), while transport equipment comprises 31% of French exports, excluding aviation.

Major investment is planned in the areas of health, education and transport infrastructure, which could generate opportunities for future trade relations. Furthermore, tourism is now increasingly important in French-Icelandic relations. France is the fifth largest source of tourists (over 100,000 French tourists visited in 2017, representing 4.5% of foreign visitors).

In addition to existing cooperation in the area of geothermal energy, Iceland has invested in a range of sectors in France, including Marel in Brittany, a global leader in fish and poultry processing, Össur, specialists in orthopaedics which acquired Gibaud in the Lyon region, and Kerecis, an Icelandic start-up which develops fish-skin grafts used for tissue regeneration.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

France is currently one of the only diplomatic representations, along with Germany, China and Canada, to have a cultural service, and the only one apart from China to have its own language teaching association: the Alliance Française. France therefore has a strong cultural presence there. Educational and academic cooperation between France and Iceland is mainly via the European Erasmus+ programme. The Hubert Curien Partnership (PHC), entitled Jules Verne, allows researchers to travel and new partnerships to be set up in cutting-edge areas (Arctic issues, geothermal energy, earth sciences, life sciences). Franco-Icelandic links with regard to Arctic issues have grown stronger in recent years, with Iceland’s participation in the European consortium ACCESS, coordinated by Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC), and the opening of French research stations in Svalbard and the Antarctic to Icelandic scientists.

Updated: January 2020