OUR near neighbour Iceland is showing a relatively large increase in immigration.

Out of a population of just 360,000 there were 50,272 immigrants in Iceland on January 1 this year, or 14% of the population – up from 12.6% a year earlier, according to Statistics Iceland. In 2012, they represented 8% of the population.

In Iceland an immigrant is defined as a person born abroad, with both parents foreign-born and all grandparents foreign-born.

Like Scotland, Iceland has a falling birth rate and needs immigration to sustain itself.

The number of second generation immigrants, that is, people born in Iceland of immigrant parents, rose as well – from 4861 in 2018 to 5263 in 2019.

Finally, Icelanders of foreign background, that is, people who have one parent of foreign origin, or who are born abroad to Icelandic parents, represent 6.9% of the population.

First and second generation immigrants combined currently represent 15.6% of Iceland’s population.

People born in Poland were the largest group of immigrants in 2019, as in previous years. They numbered 19,172, or 38.1% of the total immigrant population.

Second most numerous were people born in Lithuania (2884), followed by those born in the Philippines (1968).

The highest proportion of immigrants per local population was in and around the capital Reykjavik, where first and second generation immigrants made up 26.6% of the local population, while that proportion was the lowest in Northwest Iceland, or 7.5%.

The National:

Malta warned over EU relationship risk

WITH Malta reeling over the planned departure of prime minister Joseph Muscat as the scandal deepens over the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Maltese government has been warned that it risks damaging its relations with the EU.

Proof that the EU will take action to condemn the nefarious activities of member governments came yesterday. The fact that the EU chose a tiny member rather than say, Spain, over its treatment of Catalonia, says something.

Dutch Liberal MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld, the head of the European Parliament fact-finding mission in Malta, said yesterday that trust between the EU and Malta had been seriously damaged.

She called on Muscat to resign now rather than wait until next month. She said: “I think everybody recognises, including the prime minister himself, that he has made some serious errors of judgment and I would say that staying on longer than necessary is another error of judgment.”

The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ), together with six other international organisations including Article 19, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), Index on Censorship, International Press Institute, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Scottish Pen issued a joint statement condemning the further degradation of press freedom in Malta and the continued intimidation of journalists.

They said: “We condemn the actions taken by Maltese authorities to restrict press coverage and public scrutiny of the ongoing investigation into the assassination of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

“We call on Maltese authorities to uphold their international obligations to ensure all journalists are protected in the carrying out of their duties and have access to political figures and information in the public interest.

“An independent media and active citizenry is more necessary than ever in Malta.”

The National:

Irish whiskey makers warn of Trump tariffs

WITH the Scottish whisky industry still reeling from the imposition of tariffs by the government of president Donald Trump, now it’s the turn of Irish whiskey to be threatened with tariffs.

Given the power of the Irish lobby in American politics you might think that not even Trump would be stupid enough to offend Ireland, but reports in Dublin yesterday showed that the Irish Whiskey Association is taking the threat every seriously.

RTE reported that in October, it was announced that a range of goods from the EU were to be subjected to US duties including Irish butter, liqueurs and pork products.

Being a UK product, Irish whiskey made in Northern Ireland was listed for tariffs, but whiskey made in the Republic was not.

RTE said there are now “growing concerns” that Irish whiskey could be affected.

Trump’s tariffs were announced in retaliation for EU aircraft subsidies but the World Trade Organisation has said Europe has not complied with obligations to remove subsidies to Airbus.

RTE said the office of the US trade representative said it is considering increasing the tariff rates and subjecting additional EU products to the tariffs.

In a letter to members, the Irish Whiskey Association said it was a worrying development and that the threat of tariffs has now escalated.

The head of the association, William Lavelle, wrote to members saying: “We will continue to monitor the situation and to lobby accordingly.”

According to trade body Drinks Ireland, the Republic’s alcohol industry contributes over €2 billion to the Irish economy, supporting over 92,000 jobs in brewing, distilling, agriculture and elsewhere.

Exports of Irish whiskey to the USA have soared in recent years and just like Scotch, tariffs will be damaging.