President Asks "What Kind of Club is the EU?" - The Reykjavik Grapevine

President Asks “What Kind of Club is the EU?”

Published September 16, 2010

In an interview earlier this week with Bloomberg, the Icelandic president shared his thoughts on the EU and the Icesave matter.
“The activities by Britain and the Netherlands, which for a long time were supported by the European Union, have raised a question in the minds of many Icelanders: ‘What kind of club is this anyhow?”, the president said in part, a remark – among others – that has already drawn criticism from Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson, who cautioned the president against making statements that could be interpreted as Icelandic foreign policy.
The president remained firm behind the belief that Dutch and British authorities must accept that there is no state guarantee behind Icesave deposits, stating, “Nobody can argue that the people of Iceland or our political democratic system is not acting in a responsible way to this financial crisis, but that doesn’t mean that we should have to agree to outrageous demands from the British and Dutch governments.”
The president vetoed the original Icesave deal after a parliamentary majority voted it into law. This in turn referred the matter to public referendum, where it was soundly defeated. Many members of parliament have more recently been talking about dropping talks altogether and taking the matter to court.
“We want to find a negotiated solution, but we aren’t willing to negotiate at any price,” Minister of the Economy Árni Páll Arnason said on Sept. 8. “The other avenue is of course possible, which is that the complaint lodged by the EFTA Surveillance Authority goes through and these issues go through the formal legal channels and end up in court.”


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