The Ministry of Finance published yesterday, in English, the Icelandic government’s respective agreements with British and Dutch
authorities over renumeration for the collapse of Icesave. In
parliament, discussion of the deal was, as to be expected, spirited.
Prime Minster Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir called the discussion in parliament over how much the average taxpayer is expected to contribute to the deal “scare tactics”. Ministry of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon told parliament that “no one can make any logical argument that the Icesave agreement endangers in any way the assets, properties or resources of Icelanders.” Minister of Social Affairs Árni Páll Árnason argued that the publication of the agreement was an example of how authorities will continue to behave in “New Iceland”, where information is available and all operations are transparent.
Despite the publications, not everyone was happy. Progressive Party chairman Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson told parliament that nothing which MPs were told was in the deal actually turned out to be in the deal itself. Independence Party chairman Bjarni Benediktsson said that his party would not vote in favor of the deal as it stands in its current form. Þór Saari, an MP for the Civic Movement, criticized the deal as passing on some of the debts of bank managers onto the general public, addressing the ruling coalition by saying, “How dare you do this? What kind of thinking was behind this? Shame on you.”
The current issue of Grapevine’s feature article discusses what Icesave was, how it collapsed, what consequences arose and what it could mean for Iceland’s future.