On January 1, the Ministries of Health and Social Affairs were merged into a new Ministry of Welfare chaired by Gudbjartur Hannesson, while the Ministries of Justice and Transport were merged into a new Ministry of Interior Affairs, chaired by Ögmundur Jónasson.
The Government Offices of Iceland. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
Jónasson will also be responsible for the affairs of local authorities, ecclesiastical matters and human rights, visir.is reports.
The Ministry of Welfare will now be the largest ministry in Iceland regarding expenses from the state treasury. Hannesson will be responsible for managing 48 percent of the treasury’s expenses.
However, neither ministry is large in terms of number of employees. Layoffs are involved in neither case, as employees of all ministries will now work for the new ministries.
Even so, the government estimates that ISK 300 million (USD 2.6 million, EUR 2 million) can be saved in operational costs with the two mergers this year. The total number of ministries in Iceland has now dropped from 12 to ten.
A merger of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries with the Ministry of Industry and the establishment of a new Ministry of Employment Affairs are also being planned but so far the majority of parliament disapproves, Morgunbladid reports.