The formal proceedings in the Icesave case before the EFTA Court began yesterday when the Icelandic government was served with a subpoena and given a two-month extension to submit a statement. Iceland’s defense will be the responsibility of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
According to ruv.is, the subpoena is in consistency with the pleadings of the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) thus far, that Iceland violated the Deposit Guarantee Directive in failing to pay minimum compensation to Icesave depositors when Landsbanki collapsed and thus discriminated against them.
The government’s decision to have Foreign Minister Össur Skarphéðinsson lead Iceland’s defense, albeit in close cooperation with other ministers, the Alþingi parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and others at all stages, has met opposition.
The majority of the Foreign Affairs Committee expressed its opinion on Monday that the Icesave dispute remain the responsibility of Minister of Economic Affairs Árni Páll Árnason.
Össur explained that it hasn’t been fully decided how Iceland’s defense will be arranged. “It is our goal to obtain a broad and wide consultancy and call in lawyers who have had an opinion on these matters and have had part in them—from whatever direction they may have come—to prepare the defense.”
“It is also clear that we must seek assistance from a foreign law firm which is experienced in defending cases before courts and that is the priority right now,” the minister added.
Specialists from the Foreign and Economic Affairs Ministries met for the first time yesterday to prepare Iceland’s defense with Jóhannes Karl Sveinsson, a lawyer who had a seat on the last Icesave negotiation committee, which was chaired by Lee C. Buchheit.