Muddying the Waters—the Debate Over Special Interest in Iceland

Central Bank

“By and large controlled by special interest.” In a recent interview with Stundin, Ásgeir Jónsson, Governor of Iceland’s Central Bank, stated that Iceland was “by and large, controlled by special interest” and that “quarrelling with them was no laughing matter.” Ásgeir’s comments were in part inspired by an ongoing dispute between the Central Bank and […]

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Prime Minister’s Bill Targets Conflicts of Interest

Katrín Jakobsdóttir

Government officials will have to disclose their financial interests and all lobbyists will be registered as such if a bill recently introduced by the Prime Minister is passed. The bill aims to prevent conflicts of interest among cabinet ministers and other higher-ups in the Icelandic government, Kjarninn reports.

Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir has introduced a bill in parliament, the purpose of which is to “limit as far as possible the impacts of conflict of interest on the jobs of the highest executive authorities working within the government of Iceland.” The bill refers specifically to cabinet ministers, permanent secretaries, secretaries-general, and ambassadors.

The legislation would require all working in the aforementioned positions to state and explain in detail their financial and business interests, as well as those of their spouses and dependent children. Lobbyists who interact with politicians and government administration in that capacity would be required to register as such, a proposal the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) has previously opposed.

Chief government executives and their assistants would not be able to hold other jobs while they were in government and would be banned from working as lobbyists until six months after they stop working in government. They would also not be allowed to “use information the had access to through public service for their own or others’ unreasonable profit.”

If the bill is passed, it will take effect on January 1, 2021.