Icesave Referendum in Iceland in the Foreign Media Skip to content

Icesave Referendum in Iceland in the Foreign Media

icesave-logoIceland’s decision to reject the latest legislation on a payback scheme for Landsbanki’s savers in the UK and the Netherlands and take the Icesave dispute to court in the national referendum on Saturday has been widely reported in the foreign media.

Richard Barley at The Wall Street Journal covered the story yesterday in an article entitled “Iceland May Regret Latest Icesave Rejection”.

“The first time Iceland said ‘no’ to the British and Dutch governments over compensation for collapsed Internet bank Icesave, it was a big winner. But the second rejection by Icelandic voters of an improved deal may be counterproductive, damaging the nascent economic recovery,” Barley writes.

Landon Thomas Jr. at The New York Times, reported on Sunday that “The British and Dutch governments are taking steps to sue Iceland to claw back the billions of euros they paid to depositors in their countries after Icelandic banks collapsed in 2008,” reciting the history of the “bitter dispute”.

On the BBC, Icelandic Finance Minister Steingrímur J. Sigfússon appeared in an interview on Sunday, stating that Icelanders “are not prepared to accept payments […] unless there’s a clear legal obligation to do so.”

Sigfússon explained that the dispute will now be taken to the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) and possibly onwards to the EFTA Court.

He stressed that the court proceedings will not affect the payments to the UK and the Netherlands from the bankruptcy estate of Landsbanki and that the first payments will be made later this year.

Meanwhile, President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson appeared on Bloomberg, discussing the outcome of the Icesave referendum and harshly criticizing the rating agency Moody’s.

“I thought he was bathing in champagne and media attention; I have to say it the way it is. He seemed so happy, childishly happy, and made very strong political statements,” MP Atli Gíslason commented on the president’s media appearance on the Bylgjan radio show Í bítid, according to

In Iceland, the president is supposed to be more of a figurehead than political leader. Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir told that Grímsson has often made bold moves that are not in line with the office’s nature.

Click here to read more about Icesave and the president’s media appearance.

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