Iceland’s Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon traveled to the Nordic countries last weekend to discuss with his colleagues the impact of the Icesave referendum on the disbursement of loans to Iceland.
Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
“The trip was very useful. I was especially satisfied with the reception in Norway,” Sigfússon told Fréttabladid, explaining that he had spoken with three Norwegian ministers who all wanted the loan to Iceland to be disbursed as soon as possible.
“I also had a good meeting with the Danish finance minister and felt that he was understanding and positive, although the officials who accompanied him were more reluctant,” Sigfússon said.
The political leaders of the Nordic countries are planning to meet and discuss this issue and provide definite answers later this week.
Sigfússon told Fréttabladid that the Icelandic government has not proposed to the governments of the UK and the Netherlands that an independent mediator be appointed in renegotiations on Icesave.
That has been suggested by Norwegian-French magistrate Eva Joly, who serves as a consultant to the Icelandic special prosecutor’s office, Left-Green MP Lilja Mósesdóttir and some MPs of the opposition parties.
The name of former Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany Joschka Fischer has been mentioned in that connection.
Sigfússon said ideas on resuming renegotiations are rather unrealistic considering that Iceland’s negotiation parties don’t seem especially willing to do so, although he wouldn’t rule anything out in that regard.
Besides, the Icelandic Constitution is very clear on what to do when the president vetoes legislation, the minister said, it should go to a national referendum. “We have to provide some valid and substantial reasons if we are to take the issue out of that process.”
French economist and politician Alain Lipietz, who is a member of the European Parliament and was a shadow reporter on the European directive that applies to Icesave, said on RÚV’s political chat program Silfur Egils yesterday that the Icelandic state shouldn’t be held accountable for the mistakes of a private company.
However, Left-Green MP Björn Valur Gíslason told Fréttabladid that Lipietz seems to misunderstand some basic points in the Icesave debate.
For example, he repeatedly referred to Icesave as Landsbanki’s subsidiary, Gíslason said, while Icesave was a branch. That is why the Depositors’ and Investors’ Guarantee Fund of Iceland is responsible for repaying part of the deposits.
Click here to read more about Icesave.