Chairman of the Independence Party Bjarni Benediktsson harshly criticized the authorities of the other Nordic countries for lack of support when the economic crisis hit last year during the Nordic Council meeting in Stockholm yesterday.
Chairman of the Independence Party Bjarni Benediktsson. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Benediktsson said Icelanders had stood almost alone against the rest of the world and had not been supported by its closest neighbors when they most needed it, Morgunbladid reports.
The Nordic countries had teamed up with the British and Dutch and taken their side in the Icesave dispute within the International Monetary Fund, Benediktsson claimed, adding that Icelanders were very disappointed about their Nordic neighbors not having supported their cause.
Benediktsson stated that none of the Nordic countries would have accepted giving up the right to settle their dispute in court in an international agreement. “Yet they have watched us being forced into solving this matter without being given that right.”
Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir said in her speech at the Nordic Council meeting that once Iceland becomes a European Union member state it will work with states keen on increasing democratic work methods and transparency within the EU with equality, human rights and the well-being of minority groups in mind.
“We want to contribute to increased cooperation between smaller member states and at the same time emphasize the importance of solidarity between all member states,” Sigurdardóttir said.
“Conditions in the Northwest Atlantic will be given further attention with Iceland’s membership and Icelandic authorities will always be prepared to guard the interests of nations in that part of the world. Even though Iceland joins the EU we will not forget our closest neighbors and friends because we share the same living standards to a large extent,” the PM vowed.
At the meeting, discussions took place between the prime ministers of the Nordic countries and the Baltic states and with the chairpersons of the home rules of the Aaland Islands, Faroe Islands and Greenland.
Nordic and European cooperation, economic affairs, environment and energy issues were among the topics discussed.