From Iceland — Icesave Talks Begin Today

Icesave Talks Begin Today

Published September 2, 2010

Icesave negotiations between Iceland, Holland and the UK will begin again today, the first formal talks since a referendum killed the old agreement last March.
As many are undoubtedly aware by now, the Icelandic government did negotiate a hotly-contested agreement with Britain and the Netherlands last year, which managed to squeek through parliament by a thin majority. The president subsequently refused to sign the law, which officially put it up for public referendum, where it was soundly defeated last March.
British and Dutch authorities did come to Iceland last July to meet with government officials over Icesave, but there have been no formal talks with regards to a new deal since last year.
Iceland’s negotiations committee will be led by debt negotiator Lee Buchheit. Also serving will be ministry officials Guðmundur Árnason and Einar Gunnarsson, as well as lawyer Lárus Blöndal, and Jóhannes Karl Sveinsson. The committee will also be receiving negotiation advice from consultancy firm Hawkpoint and the law firm Ashurst.
The Icelandic team is especially optimistic in light of recent news that European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier told Norwegian media outlet ABC Nyheter that generally speaking, there is no government responsibility entailed when the deposits in a private bank go bust. However, other EU officials have maintained that for a depositor to be able to withdraw at least as much money as they put into an account is a basic financial right.

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