The new agreement between Icelandic, British and Dutch authorities on the repayment of Landsbanki’s Icesave deposits will be presented as a ministerial bill to the Icelandic parliament, Althingi, on Thursday.
Inside Althingi. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
It will be discussed in parliament after the parliament reconvenes in the New Year, on January 17, Morgunbladid reports.
The bill will be submitted by the coalition parties but not all parties as earlier hoped, as became clear after a meeting between the government and opposition yesterday.
“There were ideas about the chairpersons of all parties presenting the bill together but they couldn’t agree on that,” commented MP for The Movement Margrét Tryggvadóttir.
The reason is that there isn’t enough time for the opposition MPs to familiarize themselves with the new Icesave agreement thoroughly enough before Thursday, as it is based on complex legal reports.
According to ruv.is, there is a clause in the agreement saying that if it hasn’t been passed as legislation before the end of this year, the British and or Dutch government can go back on it. The clause was added at their request.
Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir said it is understandable that MPs would like to have time to familiarize themselves thoroughly with the agreement before deciding whether or not to pass it as legislation.
She stated the British and Dutch governments are content with that as long as the bill is made into legislation early next year.
In fact, the Icesave agreement is not binding for any of the three negotiation parties—not until it has become legislation, Fréttabladid states.
Sigurdardóttir told Stöd 2 that even though the Icesave bill will not be submitted jointly to parliament by all parties, it had been agreed that all parties will work on the matter in harmony.
In response to yesterday’s news of a currency risk involved in the new agreement, Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon told Morgunbladid that the risk is insignificant.
“This matter is discussed thoroughly in the documents accompanying the agreement and it will be discussed thoroughly in the report presented with the bill,” Sigfússon said.
“It is a little difficult to understand the context. But basically it is beneficial that the currency rate was as low as it was when the resolution committee [of Landsbanki] set the amount of claims in April 2009. It decreases the probability that it will go in the other direction and considering the current situation, it is obviously beneficial that the currency has appreciated,” Sigfússon explained.
“But it is also more complicated than that,” the minister added, emphasizing that the matter is manifold. “Generally you could say that there is a built-in currency defense mechanism, which includes that the assets of the estate are to a large extent in foreign currency, as are the obligations towards the British and Dutch governments.”
Sigfússon added that if there will be full reclamation for Icesave from Landsbanki’s bankruptcy estate, there is less of a reason to be concerned about the currency rate development of the Icelandic króna.