From Iceland — Icelandic Government Responds To EFTA Icesave Action

Icelandic Government Responds To EFTA Icesave Action

Published December 15, 2011

Both the ruling coalition and the opposition appeared to be on the same page when it came to their reaction to the European Free Trade Agreement’s (EFTA) announcement that it would be taking Iceland to court over Icesave. Meanwhile, a source close to the matter believes it unlikely the British and the Dutch will seek to re-negotiate the terms of the agreement.
As reported, although assets from the former Landsbanki are finally being paid back to depositors in the UK and Holland, EFTA still believes Iceland may have broken the terms of the country’s treaty with the organisation by delaying repayment to foreign depositors. As such, they are taking Iceland to EFTA court over the matter.
RÚV reports that there was a general consensus in parliament in terms of Iceland’s response: we will stand together to defend our interests.
Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon said that the ruling comes as no surprise to them, and that now is the time for Iceland to “reach for its best defence” in the matter.
Conservative chairman Bjarni Benediktsson agreed, adding that he believes Iceland could make a good case on its behalf. Progressive chairman Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson went a step further, saying that the British and the Dutch suffered no damages for how Iceland has handled Icesave; on the contrary, he argued, they have profited well from it. MP for the Movement Birgitta Jónsdóttir added that Iceland’s strongest weapon in this matter is solidarity.
Meanwhile, former Icesave negotiator Lárus Blöndal told Vísir that he considers it highly unlikely that the British and the Dutch will want to go back to the negotiations table over Icesave in light of EFTA’s decision. He furthermore believes that should Iceland lose in EFTA court, Holland and the UK will in all likelihood exert “political pressure”, but will not seek damages of their own accord.

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