Foreign Minister Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir said in response to a controversial speech given by chairman of the Central Bank board of directors Davíd Oddsson yesterday, that he seems to have misinterpreted the criticism directed at him.
Gísladóttir told ruv.is that Oddsson is not subject to criticism for his work in the Central Bank but rather for his lack of credibility as Central Bank governor because of his background in politics. Oddsson is the former leader of the Independence Party and the longest-serving prime minister in Iceland.
Oddsson speaking during an Independence Party conference while he served as the party’s chairman. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
In his speech, given at an event organized by the Iceland Chamber of Commerce yesterday, Oddsson claimed that he had warned the government about the poor situation of the banks but that the government had not reacted correctly to his warning.
Oddsson stated that the government, the Financial Supervisory Authority (FME), the media and the banks were responsible for the crisis, but not the Central Bank.
In response to criticism of the Central Bank, Oddsson said it was farfetched to hold the bank responsible for the collapse of Iceland’s bank system and said that he welcomed an investigation into the Central Bank’s work before the collapse.
Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde told RÚV that the Central Bank had been among the first to notice how serious the economic situation had become. However, Minister of Industry Össur Skarphédinsson said he did not recall a warning from the Central Bank.