Bjarni Sets Government Priorities in First Parliamentary Address Skip to content

Bjarni Sets Government Priorities in First Parliamentary Address

By Ragnar Tómas

Bjarni Benediktsson icelandic politics
Photo: Photo: Golli. Former minister of Finance, Bjarni Benediktsson.

In his first parliamentary address after assuming the office of Prime Minister, Bjarni Benediktsson highlighted the government’s focus on energy development, economic stability through continued inflation reduction, and a sustainable approach to immigration. Bjarni also emphasised the importance of democratic debate, the nation’s enviable living conditions, and the collaborative spirit of its diverse political landscape.

Economic challenges persist

In his first address before parliament after having assumed the office of Prime Minister, Bjarni Benediktsson reviewed some of the main issues that the coalition government intends to focus on for the remainder of the term, reports.

Among the issues discussed by Bjarni was a focus on energy development with a simplified power plant establishment process. “We cannot allow power plant options, which have been classified in the utilisation category in parliament’s framework, to be delayed by bureaucracy to such an extent that no progress is made.”

Despite the decline in inflation, Bjarni acknowledged the challenges, such as high family repayments, continue to persist. “Continued reduction of inflation and thus economic stability for households and the business sector will be our guiding light in all our work,” Bjarni observed.

Properly welcoming those who seek refuge

Addressing immigration, Bjarni stressed the importance of secure borders for sovereignty and the need for a sustainable approach to welcome those eligible for refuge. “Managing the number of people who come here is a precondition for us to properly welcome those who have the right to seek refuge here … specific Icelandic rules should not increase pressure on the borders in such a way that infrastructure fails.”

Bjarni further noted that the legislative proposals of Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir, Minister of Justice, for changes to immigration and police laws, would be finalised at this session.

Bjarni also mentioned ongoing efforts to improve disability benefits and aquaculture, expressing the honour he felt in leading the government and seeking cooperative governance across parties.

“One of the freest democracies in the world”

He then reflected on the essence of democratic debate and compromise, celebrating Iceland’s strong economy, political stability, and rich natural resources as foundations of its enviable global position.

“One doesn’t need to look far beyond our borders to find countries where no compromises, no democratic debate takes place, where only one person decides. I believe few people would want such a reality, and we should all be grateful to live in one of the freest democratic societies in the world, even though the eight political parties that form the parliament here do not always agree on every issue.”

He concluded on a sanguine note: “Our situation as Icelanders is enviable in many ways in the international arena. Despite facing difficult weather and natural challenges … there’s hardly a nation that enjoys better living conditions than we Icelanders. Let’s remember this when we disagree on the way forward.”


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