From Iceland — Foreign Ministry Harshly Criticised

Foreign Ministry Harshly Criticised

Published September 22, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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The Minister of Foreign Affairs has received some backlash over his decision to close the Icelandic International Development Agency.

While the Agency will be absorbed by the Foreign Ministry, Vísir reports, the move is not without its critics. Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson told reporters for RÚV that when his office examined the best way to continue developmental aid, they came to the conclusion that the best strategy would be to bring the Agency into the Ministry.

However, this contention is not supported by a report done on the subject for the Ministry in 2008, when Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir was the Foreign Minister. At that time, political scientist Sigurbjörg Sigurbjörnsdóttir expressed strong misgivings against closing the Agency, even to bring it under the wing of the Ministry.

Further, employees of the Agency were decidedly against the idea this summer, saying that the timing for the move was wrong, unlikely to yield results, and unclear on what the goal of it even is.

Today, Sigurbjörg calls the Minister’s decision “a big step backwards”. Gunnar Bragi responded by saying that Sigurbjörg is “a major support of the Social Democrats” (who are in the opposition; Gunnar Bragi is a Progressive) and that her ideas are “stuck in the past”.

For now, the closing of the Agency is all but a foregone conclusion.

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