Published March 16, 2012
A member of the European parliament has cited Iceland’s outstanding debt to the UK over Icesave as the reason why the country’s impending membership in the EU should be blocked.
Iceland is currently in accession talks with the EU, and while the EU has repeatedly assured the Icelandic government that Icesave would not be a determining factor one way or the other, The Independent now reports that at least one MEP is making Icesave an issue.
Marina Yannakoudakis, a London Tory MEP, refused to support a resolution calling for Iceland’s membership in the EU, saying, “As a London MEP I cannot support this resolution. Six London borough councils had a total £120 million invested with Icesave; Transport for London invested a further £40 million and the Metropolitan Police £30 million. These councils and organisations have not seen a penny of their money since Icesave’s collapse in October 2008. The Icelandic government is dodging its legal obligation to pay minimum compensation to these and other British depositors.”
Contrary to this statement, last December Landsbanki actually paid 266 billion ISK to the British depositor’s insurance fund as part of its plan to pay back the Icesave debt.
This was backed up by another Tory MEP, Charles Tannock, who expressed confidence that Iceland would honour its debt, saying, “I understand around one third of the recognised priority claims have now been repaid. Given Iceland’s successful completion of the International Monetary Fund’s economic recovery programme last year and its return to positive economic growth, we have no doubt that the other outstanding claims will be repaid.”