From Iceland — Icesave Agreement Reached, Opposition Unhappy

Icesave Agreement Reached, Opposition Unhappy

Published October 19, 2009

An agreement has been reached for the second time between Icelandic, British and Dutch authorities over the Icesave matter. Iceland’s opposition parties are still unsatisfied with the terms.
While the terms of the agreement were not available at the time of this writing, Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir told RÚV she was happy with the deal. Minister of Business Gylfi Magnússon added that the burden of payment on the Icelandic government has not increased from the previous agreement, and Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon expressed confidence that his party will support the new deal. In recent days, there had been disagreements within his party – the Leftist-Greens – over the terms of the deal, but MP Ögmundir Jónasson, who resigned from his post as Minister of Health earlier this month over his disagreements with the Icesave deal, told reporters that the new deal is “completely unlike” the previous one, and will look more closely at the agreement before saying whether or not he supports it.
Iceland’s opposition parties were quick to express their dissatisfaction with the deal. Speaking with Vísir yesterday, conservatives chairman Bjarni Benediktsson dismissed the new deal, telling reporters that all it does is “make the debts of the banks the debts of the public.” Progressive Party Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson complained that opposition parties had been shut out of discussions, and kept in the dark about the negotiation process. Margrét Tryggvadóttir, an MP for The Movement, told reporters that the deal more or less puts Iceland in the same spot as developing nations, i.e., under the burden of a great debt where it is only possible to pay down the interest.
The complete Icesave agreement will be made public later on today.

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