Foreign Minister Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir said in an interview last weekend that the chairman of the Central Bank board of directors, Davíd Oddsson, had harmed the reputation of Iceland abroad with his comments on the economic crisis.
“When it is only a question of Iceland we can let it slide, but when it has begun to have an impact outside of Iceland, considering our position, it is no longer responsible to have the matter develop further this way,” Gísladóttir told Morgunbladid.
Gísladóttir said various measures and declarations made by the board of the Central Bank in the past few days and weeks had been questionable, emphasizing, “Considering the sensitive position in which the nation currently finds itself, it cannot continue.”
Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir. Photo by Sigurdur Jökull Ólafsson. Copyright: IPA.
According to Fréttabladid, ministers for the Social Democratic party, which Gísladóttir is leader of, have repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction with the work of Oddsson during cabinet meetings, suggesting that he is only working on behalf of the other coalition party, the Independence Party.
No one has been willing to confirm that rumor, but Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde, who is also leader of the Independence Party, said during an interview with RÚV’s news magazine Kastljós on October 22 that it had been discussed within the cabinet whether the board of the Central Bank should step down.
“The prime minister is the minister of the Central Bank and I have made no such decision and have no plans to,” Haarde said on Kastljós.
In regards to whether Gísladóttir believed the cooperation between the Social Democrats and the Independence Party in the current coalition government would remain intact before the term was over in 2011, she commented to Morgunbladid:
“It would be ridiculous to predict anything else. It would be like being in a marriage and predicting a divorce. You don’t do that. We are in this government because we are serious about taking on the difficult projects that lie ahead. We’re not going to run away.”
Gísladóttir said it is important to formally launch discussions on whether or not to join the European Union. “If we were to decide to apply for membership to the EU soon, it would have an immediate effect on the local economy, the markets and our position towards other countries because then everyone would know where were headed and could start making plans by taking that into consideration.”
“Expectations to Iceland would change and that in itself would have immediate positive effects. During the past weeks when some old friends have not treated us fairly we have been given a clear message from many countries that Iceland’s membership discussions could be undertaken swiftly and that many countries would support us if that were our decision,” the foreign minister concluded.
Gísladóttir underwent a second surgery on her head on Friday, following the discovery of a benign tumor in her head in late September. The surgery had been planned beforehand and was successful. No further surgeries are scheduled.