Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir will meet President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso tomorrow to talk about Icesave, among other items. The PM is expecting to be able to meet with other European Union officials at the occasion.
Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.
Sigurdardóttir said the meeting was decided in December. “I will use the opportunity to review the situation in Iceland with Barroso and discuss these big issues,” she told Morgunbladid, referring to Icesave and the International Monetary Fund’s delayed review of the economic stabilization program for Iceland.
“The UK and the Netherlands are EU member states and therefore it is important that he receives information from us about the situation,” Sigurdardóttir explained.
She added that it is important for the Icelandic government and opposition to reach a joint solution on the Icesave loans and to find a way, which everyone can agree on, to lower the interest burden.
Chairmen of the largest opposition parties, Bjarni Benediktsson of the Independence Party and Sigmundur Davíd Gunnlaugsson of the Progressive Party, were disappointed after a meeting with the government yesterday.
They told Morgunbladid that they have now begun to wonder whether these meetings are merely a spectacle because while the government leaders claim during meetings that better agreements with British and Dutch authorities can be reached they tell the media that the current agreement is the best possible solution.
The government has hired Donald Johnston, a Canadian politician, lawyer and former Secretary General of the OECD, to estimate how the Icesave debate can be solved. He attended his first meeting with the government and opposition yesterday.
Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon told Morgunbladid that the governments of the UK and the Netherlands oppose the idea of appointing a mediator for the Icesave negotiations, so a mediator is out of the question.
When asked about claims made by Arnold Schilder, former head of the inner supervision of the Dutch Central Bank, who said the Icelandic Central Bank had lied about the situation of Icesave, Sigfússon replied that there are many aspects of this case which cannot be used or discussed publicly because of their sensitive nature.
However, “I believe that shortly various information will come to light which will explain how difficult the government’s situation has been from the beginning of this case because of its prehistory. They will shed light on the context of things, for example explain why it would be risky for Iceland if this case would end up in court,” the minister said.
Sigfússon added that he had discussed Icesave with Nordic officials yesterday and on Monday. He said they were well-informed about the situation. The minister stated it is possible that renegotiations on Icesave could begin in the coming days.
According to Morgunbladid, the Norwegian Socialist Left Party (SV) is planning to go over the Icesave case at its meeting today and then submit a declaration that the Norwegian government should work on strengthening Iceland’s position within the International Monetary Fund.
The goal is to speed up the review of Iceland’s economic stabilization program and separate it from Icesave. The connection with Icesave was established because of pressure from British and Dutch authorities, Morgunbladid states.
In other news, the government of Iceland celebrated its first anniversary yesterday with a cake made from Icelandic barley.
Click here to read more about Icesave.