Martin Wolf, one of the editors of British financial newspaper Financial Times, said at an open meeting on economic policy making in Iceland at the Hilton Hotel in Reykjavík yesterday evening that Icelanders should neither pay Icesave nor join the European Union.
Wolf reasoned that Icelanders would not have any influence in the EU and stated that the EU would be eager to harness the country’s natural resources, ruv.is reports.
He pointed out that the Icelandic economy had been restored to a greater extent than that in Greece, Portugal and Ireland, for example.
Wolf urged the Icelandic state not to take responsibility for the banks if the were to embark on foreign markets again.
As for Icesave, Landsbanki’s branch in the UK and the Netherlands which left a trail of debt Icelanders now have to cover, Wolf stated that morally Icelanders shouldn’t pay because all those who deposited money into the bank were being irresponsible and the British government shouldn’t have covered their losses afterwards.
Wolf moved on to the success that has been achieved in state finances in Iceland, which he described as remarkable, saying that Iceland is still a wealthy country, adding tongue-in-cheek, that he doesn’t feel as sorry for Icelanders as he did before he came here.
Wolf recommended that Icelanders continue to base their economy on natural resources and a good workforce, adding that they could also establish special regulations to attract capital, however warning against Iceland turning into a tax haven.
Today, Wolf is participating in a conference held by the Central Bank of Iceland and the International Monetary Fund.