Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon responded to criticisms
from the Progressive Party that the government was taking too long to
come up with an economic rescue plan by saying that they don’t
understand how serious the situation is.
“People might not have grasped what sort of project lies ahead of us even though the breadth of the matter is completely public,” the Sigfússon told Morgunblaðið. “We need to reduce 170 billion [ISK, referring to the national debt] to zero within a few years. That’s the cold reality of the situation.” He added that he expected that criticisms of inactivity would fade once people faced how much work actually needed to be done.
As an interesting side note: the original headline of the Morgunblaðið article was “The people in denial” and implied that the minister was essentially saying the Icelandic people weren’t looking at the facts of the economic situation. This set off a firestorm in the blog world here, of people strongly criticizing the minister as insensitive and out of touch. Morgunblaðið then corrected the headline later on, adding the explanation that “an employee of VG [the Leftist Greens]” wished the headline to be corrected because the minister’s remarks were actually directed at MP’s for the Progressive Party; not the entire nation.