Georg Lárusson, director of the Icelandic Coast Guard (LHG), supports the idea of closing the Icelandic Defense Agency, arguing that it is necessary in order for the LHG to fulfill its purpose of protecting the country’s safety and natural resources.
The Icelandic Coast Guard in action. Photos by Páll Stefánsson.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphédinsson told Fréttabladid last month that he is considering shutting down the Defense Agency, which was established in April 2008, in an effort to make cuts to his ministry’s expenses.
“LHG’s cooperation with foreign militaries has a long history but is now suffering significantly because of this peculiar arrangement of establishing a special institution in the middle,” Lárusson told Fréttabladid. “It […] jeopardizes cooperation on rescue services with the neighboring states.”
Lárusson argued that by LHG taking over many of the Defense Agency’s projects, “Not only can money be saved but we can also take advantage of the information and facilities that the Defense Agency has for the benefit of the country and nation in a much safer and efficient manner than how it is done today.”
The Icelandic Defense Agency responded by saying that a decision of a merger between the agency and LHG is of a political nature. There were many opportunities to cooperate and that LHG had been offered to use the agency’s facilities at Keflavík Airport but decided not to accept the offer.
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