Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson has decided that Dutch military consultancy firm ECA Program will not be permitted to operate in Iceland.
ECA Program has long wanted to establish a base in Iceland, wherein it would house fighter planes and train clients from around the world in how to fly them. However, numerous questions about what exactly the company does and where they get their financing from have been unanswered. Furthermore, it appeared as though previous Minister of Transportation Kristján Möller had asked the Icelandic Civil Aviation Authority to give the company the green light.
Ögmundur has long expressed his doubts about the company, and today told news website Eyjan that he has decided the company will not be permitted to operate in Iceland.
“In my estimation we would be sacrificing more interests for less by giving this company an operating license,” he said in part. “As far as I’m concerned, the matter is off the table.”
While many people in the Suðurnes region – which has the highest unemployment rates in the country and was promised 200 jobs by ECA Program – have supported the company opening up shop here, Ögmundur says ECA Program has not sufficiently proven itself to be trustworthy.
“Here we are talking about a company that other countries have wanted nothing to do with,” he said. “And I do not want to sacrifice our interests with a permit for this company. We are talking about military employment, to my knowledge, and it is not at all clear how many jobs this company would even create. It would be irresponsible to give them a permit.”
Árni Sigfússon, the mayor of Reykjanesbær and a supporter of ECA Program in Iceland, has not yet publicly responded to the minister’s remarks.
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