The new Social-Democrat-Left-Green coalition presented a seven-point action plan to be executed during the roughly 80 days that it will be in power until the parliamentary elections, scheduled for April 25.
However, some of the issues included in the task list can only be undertaken in the long-term and are considered as future plans for Iceland’s government. The list was published in Morgunbladid.
1. Increased democracy, equality and flow of information:
Controversial regulation on retirement benefits for ministers and MPs will be abolished.
Three changes will be made to the constitution, a provision on Iceland’s natural resources substantiating the property of the nation, a provision on national referendums and a provision that all changes to the constitution be accepted by a referendum.
Laws will be established on the organization and projects of a constitutional parliament.
Elections laws will be changed so that it is possible to vote for individuals and not just parties.
The government will focus on informing the public on its projects, cooperate more with municipalities, representatives of the employment market and the public, prepare new regulations on the appointment of judges and review laws on the responsibility of ministers.
2. Reconstructing the economy:
The economic policy of the new government will be based on a plan set by the new administration and the program of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The plan will be presented in a more transparent manner to the public.
A more responsible policy on state finances will be implemented and a balance achieved between the state’s expenses and revenue.
3. Reorganization of the administration:
The Central Bank board of governors will be suspended and laws on the Central Bank changed so that there will be only one governor. A monetary policy council will be appointed to make decisions and execute these decisions.
A new board will be appointed to the Financial Supervisory Authority (FME) and to the executive elements of individual, unspecified ministries.
The Central Bank’s monetary policy will be reviewed and the possibility of seizing assets of certain individuals for the interest of the national economy will be examined.
4. Actions to support Icelandic households:
A welfare committee will be established to follow the social consequences of the collapse of the banking system and make proposals on how they can be dealt with.
This month bills will be submitted on debt relief, including relief for indexed mortgages and the postponement of forced auctions of foreclosed properties for up to six months.
Mortgages issued by the old commercial banks will be transferred to the state-run Housing Financing Fund (HFF) to secure that the debtors have access to the fund’s resources. Laws on forward payments from supplemental pension accounts will also be established.
The position of debtors will be improved with amendments to bankruptcy laws. A long-term plan on how to meet the needs of indebted households will be submitted by the end of March.
5. Actions for the employment market:
Projects organized by state-run institutions will be reviewed with an emphasis on undertaking nationally profitable and labor-intensive projects. No new plans on aluminum smelters will be presented until the elections (on April 25).
The HFF’s authority to grant loans for maintenance projects of properties will be increased and the provisions for VAT-reimbursement for such projects established.
A detailed plan on public operations and calls for bids will be presented this year, a special initiative to fight unemployment will be launched and ways found to encourage investment and create new jobs.
The regulations of LÍN, the Student Loan Fund, will be amended so that unemployed individuals can study and receive student loans instead of receiving unemployment benefits.
The laws on the Institute of Regional Development will be amended to increase its loan granting ability. The Ministry of Social Affairs will estimate the impact on the position of men and women in particular.
6. Actions to rebuild the financial system and assist companies:
The problems of promising companies will be addressed. The government will provide the new state-run banks with a loan policy for 2009 aimed at stimulating the economy.
Active competition will be maintained and the estimate on the value of the assets of the state-run banks will be competed as soon as possible along with plans for their refinancing.
7. International agreements and European cooperation:
An overview on loans and the total liabilities of the national economy will be compiled and presented to the public. International experts will be brought in to assist on making agreements in the international arena in cooperation with the government.
That includes agreements because of deposit insurance.
A committee on European matters will deliver a report on national interests in joining the European Union by April 15. A decision on EU membership for Iceland will only be made through a national referendum.
Click here to read more about the new government.