Norwegian and Dutch Foreign Ministers upset Icelanders Skip to content

Norwegian and Dutch Foreign Ministers upset Icelanders

The foreign ministers of Holland and Norway were seen to talk down to Icelanders, even threatening them, on the eve of the Icesave-election.

Dutch Foreign Minister, Maxime Verhagen, decleared Saturday morning in Spain that the Icesave-dispute would be of importance when deciding whether to take up negotiations with Iceland on EU membership. This is not the first time the minister tries to connect the issues. According to www.visir.is he called Icelandic Foreign Minister Össur Skarphédinsson in July 2009 to tell him that Iceland would have to agree to the Icesave-terms to be eligible for membership in the EU. This statement was then described by Foreign Relations committee chairman Árni Sigurdsson as being unintelligent. If the Dutch minister meant his words now to be a threat he grossly misfired, since in the mist of the Icesave-dispute between 60 and 70% of the Icelandic population has turned against membership.

Jonas Gahr Støre, the Norwegian Foreign minister, said that Norway would not lend Iceland any more money according to www.mbl.is. The reason he said was: “Icelanders have in every election since 1991 voted for a political course that has now lead the country into this situation. I admit that Icelanders did not all foresee this, but in a democracy the people themselves are responsible for the politics the vote for. I don’t want Norwegian taxpayers to pay for this folly, but we will lend money to the Icelanders.”

The Norwegian, a Social Democrat, seems to be indicating that Iceland would have been better off voting for the Social Democrats, who incidentally were in government from 1991 to 1995 and from 2007. Iceland’s current Prime Minister, Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir, was a member of government from 2007 with the Independence Party up to February 1 2009. She was Minister of Social Affairs for the Social Democrats.

Comments such as these have lead Icelanders to feel increasingly isolated in the world. Former allies talk down to Icelanders who do not vote “correctly” or should not belong to “the club”. This sentiment started when Iceland was suddenly subject to a “the terrorist act” by British ministers Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling in October 2008. The nation, barely understanding what was going on at home suddenly found itself in the company of Bin Laden and other well known international terrorists. The UK used the anti-terrorist legislation to freeze Icesave assets in Britain. Mr. Darling claimed that the Minister of Finance in Iceland had refused to pay Iceland’s obligations, a claim that was not substantiated when a tape of the conversation was released. This hostile act no doubt greatly reduced the value of the assets of Landsbanki, assets that should have gone towards paying for the Icesave-deposits when the bank went down. This act alone, Icelanders feel, means that the British should share responsibility for the Icesave debt.

More recent stories about the Icesave-story:

07.03.2010
President of Iceland: Gordon Brown Should Step in to Solve Icesave

07.03.2010
Iceland’s Finance Minister Contemplated Resigning

07.03.2010
I commend Icelanders for rejecting the Icesave law

07.03.2010
Überwältigendes Nein zum Icesave-Gesetz

07.03.2010
Comment on Icesave

07.03.2010
Icesave: What do the commentators say?

07.03.2010
Iceland Says Work Continues on Mutual Icesave Deal

07.03.2010
Analysis: What are Icelandic Voters Trying to Tell the World on Icesave?

06.03.2010
Analysis: Iceland vote: 98 to 99% say NO! to Icesave-law

06.03.2010
First Numbers: Iceland Says No to Icesave

06.03.2010
Analysis: Icesave makes Strange Bedfellows

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