Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Iceland is a unitary state composed of municipalities (sveitarfélag).
Local level: 69 municipalities (sveitarfélag)
The municipal council (called differently depending on the size of the municipality: sveitarstjórn, bæjarstjórn or borgarstjórn for Reykjavík City) is composed of councillors elected by direct universal suffrage, for a four-year term. These councillors are responsible for the management of the municipality and appoint permanent committees to assist the council in its work. These committees work on specific issues wholly or partly related to local life and make recommendations to the council.

The executive committee (called differently depending on the size of the municipality:  byggðarráð, bæjarráð or borgarráð for Reykjavík City) is the municipality’s executive body and is composed of municipal council members designated by the council. It is in charge of the financial and administrative management of the municipality.

The President of the Council (called oddviti or forseti depending on the size of the municipality) is elected by municipal council majority. He/she presides over the council.  Following elections, the municipal council may decide to appoint one of its members as mayor or may designate a non-political person to take on this role.

Municipalities have the possibility of taking on additional tasks concerning their inhabitants provided that they have the budget to support these and that the tasks in question are not assigned to other government administrations by law.

  • Social services and child welfare
  • Services for persons with disabilities
  • Preschools and primary schools
  • Culture, sports and leisure activities
  • Public utilities (heating, sewage, water and electricity)
  • Spatial and urban planning
  • Building inspection
  • Public parks and open areas
  • Monitoring of public and environmental health
  • Fire services
  • Public transport
  • Waste management and collection
  • Harbours

CEMR in Iceland

Association of Local Authorities in Iceland
Director: Karl BJORNSSON
Samband íslenskra sveitarfélaga
Borgartún 30, P.O. Box 8100, 128 Reykjavik
Tél. : +354 515 4900
Fax : +354 515 4903
E-mail :
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