The Icesave dispute was discussed at the Dutch parliament yesterday, during which Minister of Finance Jan Kees de Jager indicated that the next step was in the hands of Iceland. Other parliamentarians called for blocking Iceland’s loan from the IMF.
“This is what we knew. The situation in the Netherlands is difficult,” Icelandic Finance Minister Steingrímur J. Sigfússon told Morgunbladid in response to the Icesave discussions in the Netherlands, adding that he doesn’t interpret his counterpart’s words as if the situation has toughened.
“They are in a tight position because in the Netherlands there are influential powers who are not friendly towards us, to put it mildly. But it hasn’t kept them from participating in talks,” Sigfússon said. He added that it doesn’t help that an interim government is currently at the helm and that parliamentary elections are coming up in the Netherlands.
The House of Representatives agreed to demand a quick solution to the dispute and to increase pressure on Iceland. Moreover, the majority of MPs agreed that Iceland’s application for the EU would be out of the question during the current circumstances, Morgunbladid reports.
“If Iceland doesn’t honor its international obligations we don’t know why we would give Iceland a positive review when the country applies for membership to the European Union. That is the first issue,” said Frans de Nerée tot Babberich, spokesperson on economic affairs for the political party Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).
“The second issue is that we don’t know why we should review Iceland’s application for a loan from the International Monetary Fund favorably,” de Nerée added.
However, it was also agreed that the Dutch state should not profit from the loan deal with Iceland, which could be considered as an offer of lower interest.
Dutch news web Z24 reported that the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) would like the dispute to take a legal course and to submit a claim on Iceland.
Former Dutch Finance Minister Frans Andriessen and Sylvester Eijffinger, the advisor of Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, believes there is flexibility for concession in the Icesave dispute.
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