British and Dutch authorities met with Icelandic authorities yesterday, commenting on the Icesave legislation passed by the Icelandic parliament on August 28, which introduced certain criteria and preconditions to the state guarantee on the Icesave loans.
The headquarters of Landsbanki in Reykjavík. Icesave was the bank’s online savings scheme in the UK and the Netherlands. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir and Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon discussed the reactions of the British and Dutch governments in a press conference yesterday, stating that they are generally positive towards the preconditions, Morgunbladid reports.
The ministers revealed that the two governments had presented joint ideas on amendments to the Icesave agreement with Iceland, but wouldn’t discuss them in any detail since confidentiality has been requested at this stage. Meetings will continue today.
According to Morgunbladid’s sources, the UK and the Netherlands propose, among other items, that the state guarantee, which is supposed to expire in 2024, be extended by 16 years, until 2040.
The Icelandic government presented their proposals to the opposition parties yesterday and to the Althingi parliament’s Budget Committee. Afterward the parties’ parliamentary groups met to discuss the matter among themselves.
The parliamentary group of the Independence Party concluded last night that a rejection of Iceland’s preconditions means that the state guarantee cannot be evoked. They said it is out of the question that the government changes the preconditions that have been approved by parliament—that it is not in the government’s authority.
Vice-chair of the Independence Party Thorgerdur Katrín Gunnarsdóttir iterated that it is illegal for the government to accept changes to the Icesave legislation without the matter being brought up in parliament again.
Höskuldur Thórhallsson, the Progressive Party’s representative on the Budget Committee, agreed, adding that if Iceland’s negotiators don’t accept the preconditions, then the Icesave agreement in its entirety has been annulled.
Icelandic, British and Dutch authorities reached an agreement in June that Iceland be granted loans to honor its obligations towards Landsbanki’s Icesave depositors in the UK and the Netherlands.
The agreement caused uproar in the Icelandic parliament and after months of debate a cross-political agreement on preconditions to the original agreement was reached, after which the legislation on the state guarantee was passed.
Click here to read more about Icesave.