From Iceland — Dispute Over Who Will Represent Iceland In EFTA Court

Dispute Over Who Will Represent Iceland In EFTA Court

Published December 20, 2011

A disagreement has arisen within the Foreign Affairs committee over who will get to represent Iceland in European Free Trade Association (EFTA) court over the Icesave matter: Minister of Economics and Business Árni Páll Árnason, or Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson.
As reported, while the old Landsbanki is paying back the Icesave debt to depositors in the UK and Holland, the three-year delay in returning the deposits may have violated Iceland’s treaty with EFTA. The matter will now be decided in court.
Things are already off to a bumpy start. Who will represent Iceland in this matter – possibly the first detail that needs to be covered before moving forward – is a matter of dispute within the Foreign Affairs committee.
Representatives of the opposition parties, in addition to Leftist-Green Guðfríður Lilja Grétarsdóttir, want Minister of Economics and Business Árni Páll Árnason to be given the task, Morgunblaðið reports. This making five committee members out of nine, it would seem the matter is decided.
However, the four members of the committee representing the ruling coalition, in addition to Movement MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir, would rather see Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson represent Iceland. While all told this would equal ten committee members instead of nine, Birgitta was sitting in on the meeting as an observer, and cast her vote with the ruling coalition.
Progressive MP Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, who voted for Árni Páll, argued that Birgitta’s vote as an observer should not count. “The committee minority, four representatives, put forward a different motion. The government of Iceland must give consideration to the will of the Foreign Affairs committee majority,” he said.

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