Darling: We Have Tried to Be Fair Towards Iceland Skip to content

Darling: We Have Tried to Be Fair Towards Iceland

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling told the Politics Show on the BBC yesterday, after the results from the referendum in Iceland were clear, that the British government has tried to be fair towards Iceland during the Icesave dispute.

From London. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

According to visir.is, Darling explained it will take many years before the Icesave debt has been fully repaid.

“You don’t just go to a small country like Iceland with a population of a similar size as Wolverhampton and say: ‘Hey, you have to pay the whole amount right away.’ Therefore we have tried to be fair; the main issue is that we do get our money back,” he said.

Darling also said that the British government is prepared to be flexible when it comes to loan terms and conditions for a new agreement, even to cut the interest rate by half.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Finnish Finance Ministry, Ilkka Kajaste, said in an interview with YLE, the Finnish state television, yesterday that the Finnish government would not disburse any loans to Iceland until the Icesave dispute has been resolved, visir.is reports.

Finland is participating in the International Monetary Fund bailout package for Iceland, a EUR 1.8 billion (USD 2.5 billion) loan for restoring the economy in consistency with the IMF’s economic stabilization program for Iceland. Part of the loan has been disbursed but the second payment has been stalled.

Kajaste said it is impossible to know when the Icesave dispute will conclude and when the loan can be disbursed. The other Nordic countries are speaking along the same lines.

Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir will give an oral report on the changed situation of Icesave after Saturday’s referendum when parliament convenes today. It is uncertain when negotiations with the UK and the Netherlands can resume.

According to visir.is, Sigurdardóttir and Finance Minister Steingrímur J. Sigfússon are eager to continue with negotiations where they ended last week but the opposition is against it. The Icelandic negotiating committee returned to Iceland from London on Friday.

Reuters published an analysis today about three possible solutions to the Icesave dispute: a new agreement in the coming days or weeks, a new agreement after a few months’ delay or no agreement at all.

Click here to read more about Reuter’s analysis and here to read our last story about Icesave.

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