Iceland has paid back a 7.3 billion ISK loan Poland made to Iceland in 2009, following Iceland’s bank crash the previous autumn.
In a statement from the Ministry of Finance, it is reported that Iceland’s Minister of Finance Bjarni Benediktsson and Poland’s Ministry of Finance Mateusz Szczurek signed an agreement obliging the Icelandic treasury to pay back the loan in full this week. Issued in 2009 to assist Iceland in dealing with its financial woes, a third of it was used, and was initially scheduled to be paid back between this year and 2022.
“By offering Iceland a loan during a difficult time, and taking part in the reconstruction of the nation, the Polish have extended a great friendliness to Icelanders,” Bjarni said at a press conference yesterday. “Such a friendship is valuable, and the Icelandic people are thankful for it.”
The repayment marks a turning point, as Iceland has now repaid the loans extended to it by other countries following the 2008 bank crash. The majority of the loan the International Monetary Fund lent has also been paid back.
Poland has assisted in the reconstruction of Iceland in other ways as well – namely, in immigration. Poles are the largest ethnic minority in Iceland, comprising 45% of Iceland’s immigrants, who in turn comprise 9.5% of the national population.