Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir gave her second keynote speech in office when the Althingi parliament reconvened for the first time after the elections yesterday. The PM primarily discussed European Union membership.
Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir speaking at parliament at an earlier occasion. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
According to Fréttabladid, Sigurdardóttir stated that joining the EU is no magic solution but, “If Iceland applies for membership to the European Union and launches formal membership discussions, favorable conditions for a more stable exchange rate of the Icelandic króna and for lowering the policy rate will be created.”
“We call for a broad solidarity on Iceland’s application for EU membership,” the PM announced. She explained that the Central Bank had been given the task of estimating the changed framework of the monetary policy and writing a report on the arrangement of monetary issues with potential membership to the European monetary union taken into account.
Icelandic fishermen have valuable skills and Icelandic fisheries companies can compete in a free market anywhere in the world, Sigurdardóttir stated. “My vision for the future is that Iceland will be a leading force in the creation and management of the EU fisheries policy as well as in the European fishing industry. I’m absolutely confident that it will work.”
Sigurdardóttir then reminded people of the gigantic tasks that await Althingi, stating that MPs are bound to approach these tasks with humility and join their forces to serve the nation and work together on reconstructing society.
There is no room for old-fashioned “trench warfare” that have long characterized Icelandic politics, the PM stated, “We call for national solidarity and call for a new type of working method.”
In order to cope with the ISK 170 billion (USD 1.3 billion, EUR 1.0 billion) deficit of the state budget in the next three years everyone has to carry some of the load, Sigurdardóttir said. “Everyone will unfortunately feel the impact of this extensive recession and I don’t want to conceal that fact.”
However, restraint in state operations will deliver a more rapid development of the economy, a lower unemployment rate, a lower policy rate and greater stability, the PM promised.
The PM ended her speech on a positive note. “We are fortunate to have a strong and skilled nation and I am convinced that we will show the international community what we’re made of by being the first nation to work itself out of the economic difficulties that we’re now facing.”
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