Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir is less than pleased with Minister of Fishing and Agriculture Jón Bjarnason, but support for Jón has arisen within his party and within her own cabinet.
Jón has always been a renegade of sorts within the government ministries. Staunchly anti-EU but working within a pro-EU government, he represents the Leftist-Green Party for the northwest of Iceland. While Jón himself has put considerably more focus on the desires of the farmers from his region – who are decidedly anti-EU – many fishing companies have also been against joining the EU, out of fear that they will lose their share of fishing stocks to other EU countries. Jón has been accused of attempting to stall accession proceedings in the past, but an apparent last straw was reached.
Vísir reports that the Prime Minister is particular unhappy with Jón after it came to light that a work group he formed to go over the fishing system included members of the opposition, without the knowledge or consent of his own colleagues. Furthermore, the report he submitted contained outlines and goals that run counter to the government’s stated platform on the fishing quota system. Jóhanna has called this “work practices that are impossible to tolerate”.
However, some politicians from the Leftist-Greens have come to his defence, including Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson and MP Guðfríður Lilja Grétarsdóttir. The Leftist-Greens of Reykjavík also issued a statement of support for Jón.
While he remains minister for the moment, he continues to stand on shaky ground. Whether or not he will hold his position to the end of his term remains to be seen. But for alert readers who want to stay informed, you can check to see if Jón Bjarnason is still a minister by visiting Grapevine’s own Palli Hilmarsson’s Is Jón Bjarnason A Minister? website.