Icelandic news translated into English

November 13, 2008

Deals about Icesave the only way

Picture by Reuters

Picture by Reuters

The Icelandic government has decided to try to deal with England and Netherlands in the next days on how the Icelandic government can compensate the balances in the Icesave accounts of Landsbankinn to the ones who are hurting from the loss when the banks were bankrupt. It is the evaluation of the head men of the government that the only way to get the loan approved from the IMF and other governments is to finish these deals as soon as possible.

According to the sources of the Morgunblaðið the Icelandic government has been under a lot of pressure from the united nations and the founders of the European Union to make these deals. It has been public that it is the united position of all the 27 ESB countries to be against that Iceland gets the help from IMF until the Icesave debts have been negotiated about.

The ESB countries are not agreeing with the legal reasons of Iceland in he matters and say that this is a political perspective. It is reasoned in the matter that this issue has to be finished in the way that there is no doubt of the value of the executive order from the ESB, that is valid in all the European economic area, about the mutual insurance of the balances. If the unfortunate example is set by giving in on the deals to Iceland everything would be upset in the European bank market in the current situation and the balance owners would stop trusting the banks about practice in another country than its own.

The sources of the Morgunblaðið say that for instance the representatives of all the Nordic nations have made it clear that it will not work to talk about a loan from them until the Icesave disputes have been solved. It was also hinted by the ESB council that if Iceland admits the demands of England and the Netherlands the united nations will try to set the terms in an order that the debt and repayment would not be too heavy for Iceland.

News Article by noname
Original Article in Icelandic

Will Iceland accept it‘s responsabilities?

Filed under: economy,Politics — newsfrettir @ 1:33 pm
Tags: , , , ,

‚No agreement has been reached with the IMF wich suggests that the government is vacillate in it’s stance. The issue isn’t threats from Britain or Holland or the position of the Scandinavian countries, but whether Icelanders are willing to shoulder their responsibilities or not. It is up to us. If we will not, than what little trust we still have and what small hope of symbiotic help from the international community. Iceland’s IMF loan application lies dormant until a clear heading is presented’ writes Skúli Thoroddsen, general manager of the Federation of General and Special Workers in Iceland, on the federations webpage.
‘It was the chairman of the board of governors in the Central bank that first raised the theory that Icelanders were under no obligation to guarantee credit balance accounts of the Icelandic banks abroad. That invoked the anger of the British. The emergency laws than confirmed that only credit balance accounts in Iceland were insured and the Brits went ballistic. What is most important to realize is that people can not be discriminated by race and it matters not whether the accounts were in branches in Iceland, London or Amsterdam. Every one should be equal, that’s the law that applies, even though the whole thing boils down to ethics of international trade and trust. That is the problem that the government is facing right now.’
‘Accourding to uncomfirmed statements it appears that the Icelandic government has decided to endeavor to reach an agreement with Britain and Holland in the next few days on how the Icelandic government will compensate the Icesave account holder. That is the only way to get a loan from IMF and other countries, and that is in fact the most important task of the day’ writes Mr. Thoroddsen.
‘Can we afford to take over responsibilities of the accounts abroad?’ Mr. Thoroddsen asks in his column.
‘No, we can’t. The burden of so much debt would mean that defection, collapse and decades of poverty her in Iceland if we were to carry it alone. We must therefore seek assistance and negotiate our way out of the crisis, acknowledge the political mistakes of last years and meet our destiny with humility. The longer we draw this out, the anger of the public in Iceland and abroad will escalate. People want to know where we are heading. We need a strategy and we are calling for accountability.

The country is facing destitution because of political mistakes that is a fact. Any trust the Central Bank had is long gone and others that bear some blame in the matter are the supervisory authorities both the Financial Supervisory Authority and the Ministry responsible for bank affairs (the Ministry of Commerce). It is there for only reasonable that the president of the Icelandic Confederation of Labor (ASÍ) is calling to the Ministers of Finance and Commerce to shoulder their responsibilities, seeing as they have failed in their official duties. One can agree to that. They should have been aware of the fact that the growth of the banks abroad was bound to end in misfortune.
Even though no one could have imagined the horrific consequence that was to be, the political and administrative responsibilities are great and unavoidable. They must assume it. But we must not forget the accountability of those that were responsible for the expansion and reaped the benefits at the expense of the public. Their day of reckoning has to and must be soon to come.’

Original article in Icelandic
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Ágúst Ólafur: Jón Ásgeirs threat is unbelievable

Ágúst Ólafur Ágústsson

Ágúst Ólafur Ágústsson

“I thin it is extremely odd that men think they can threaten members of the parliament in this manner, that they will simply be charged if they ask certain questions,” says Ágúst Ólafur Ágústsson, chairman of the trade commission of the Parliament.

In the letter that the lawyer of Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson sent Ágúst tonight it is demanded that he will not call the representatives to his meeting on Friday. It was stated in the news on RÚV yesterday that Ágúst called to that meeting, amongst other issues to demand answers from the representatives ofr the banks if any of the banks financed the purchase of Jón Ásgeirs on 365 media as the situation has been clear on the media market.

Ágúst Ólafur says he will not bend to this demand of Jón Ásgeirs, as it is clear that this matter concerns the worried public and the parliament world if there has started a monopoly on the media market and if the government banks were a part in that. “But it is the banks responsibility to evaluate if there is bank secrecy at hand regarding this information or not. I am not asking men to break law but i am doing my job as a member of the Parliament,” says Ágúst. He says that the members of the Parliament have often asked questions and been denied answers. It is nothing new that members of the Parliament do not get information about issues that are secretive.

Ágúst Ólafur says that the threat of Jón Ásgeir is unbelievable, but doubts it has any example of these sort of threats before. “And one can ask oneself if he´s going to threat the media if they ask questions,” says Ágúst.

After the first news of that Jón Ásgeir bought 365 media he announced to all shareholders of 365 that they would be offered to be partners in the new company that bought the media.

News Article by noname
Original Article in Icelandic

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November 12, 2008

Help depends on closure

Jens Stoltenberg og José Manuel Barroso ræddu við blaðamenn i dag.

Jens Stoltenberg og José Manuel Barroso ræddu við blaðamenn í dag.

José Manuel Barroso, president of the executive of the European Union said in a news conference in Brussels today that Iceland has to find a closure on the disputes to some member states to the union before Iceland can have the so called macrofinancial help from the unions funds.

“The executive will suggest to the member states of the European Union that Iceland will have help in such a form of loans that will be an addendum to the IMF loan,” said Barroso. It will only be capable if Iceland finds a resolution to the disputes about the double edged deals about insurance for the balance of foreign savings owners in Icelandic bank accounts. “We think it is very important that full equality is guarded in these issues,” says Barroso. “The member states of the European Union are asking that the terms that have been set will be honored.” said Barroso. He is convinced that these disputes will be resolved.

Barroso said that the management of the ESB have received a request for help by mail from Geir H. Haarde October 2nd. Macrofinancial-aid from the European Unions are thought of as for the European countries that are not affiliated with the European union and have another currency than the Euro.

News Article by noname
Original Article in Icelandic

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The situation is dead serious

Problems acquiring loans and disputes because of Icesave seem to have put the loan application from Iceland on slippery ice for an unknown amount of time. Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, chairman of the left wing party, said when he came out of a meeting with the board of standing committee on foreign affairs this morning that the situation is dead serious, the nation could not tolerate this situation any longer. The outlook is specially serious for export industry since everything is frozen to the core.

People surrounded the house of the Parliament today at noon to express their demand to have elections for the Parliament as soon as possible.

Steingrímur says that it condemnable that the government has nothing else as a resort to this situation than the International Money Fund. The case is in a total mess. Every single day in uncertainty is very dear for the nation.

It has repeatedly boiled over between politicians and their foreign confrere overseas because of the Icesave dispute. According to the newsroom Árni M. Mathiesen, Minister of Finance, was scolded at the meetings with other Ministers of Finance from other European countries in Brussels last week. It is said that Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the President of Iceland, had a quarrel with a foreign ambassador during a lunch meeting last Friday.

Steingrímur says that it was a terrible disappointment to experience how the English, Dutch and other European nations handled some issues and some of the Northern countries were more hesitant than expected.

He says it is hard to say what Icelandic government can do to improve these communications while they are being forced to sign political results for the Icesave dispute. Information arrived late and in a bad manner and the people of the nations are angry because of the process around the Icelandic banks. The name Iceland is drastically damaged and the reputation of the country is in a bad shape. This is harsh and very sad.

News coverage by Þóra Kristín Ásgeirsdóttir
Original Article & Video in Icelandic

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No reasons given for the suspension

Photo - Reuters
As it is stated in the news article of Financial Times, about the suspension of the processing of a loan from IMF to Iceland, that there is still 500 million dollars needed so that Iceland can finance the rescue pack that is required according to the loan application. Then the English administrators deny it completely that they have stopped the processing of the loan. It is stated in the news article that no public explanation as been given about the suspension of the process of the loan and that Grdon Brown, prime minister of England, declared his support to the loan yesterday to Iceland.

On the other hand Icelanders suspect that the suspension is connected to the dispute between Iceland and England regarding the IceSave accounts. It is quoted from Össur Skarphéðinsson, industrial minister and foreign affairs minister, that he spoke to the representatives for the English administration and they said that there had to be resolutions to other issues at hand before they could support the loan. “I was not having any doubts what they were talking about,” said Össur.

Also in the article is a quote from Wouter Bos, finance minister of the Netherlands, from a television interview but there he said that the Netherlands would protest the loan from IMF to Iceland if there was not any solution in the Icesave case. “Thank goodness that we have as strong allies as England and Germans that have same sort of disputes with Iceland,” he says.

News Article by noname
Original Article in Iceland

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November 11, 2008

Stoltenberg spoke about Iceland with Brown

Gordon Brown and Jens Stoltenberg outside Downing street 10 today.
Jens Stoltenberg, prime minister of Norway, spoke about the concerns of Iceland with Gordon Brown, prime minister of England, at their meeting in Downing street London tonight. Stoltenberg said that it could have very serious results for Iceland if the action plan of the IMF is not approved by the board soon.

“I said to him, that i hope it will be a possibility to come to an agreement and find a solution,” the Norwegian newsroom NTB quotes Stoltenberg.

He says there is no secret that there is going to be a rescue plan released because of Iceland but it is assumed that the IMF will loan Iceland 2.1 billion dollars, and other nations 4 billion dollars.

“If this will not go through the situation will be very serious. The plan should have been approved already,” says Stoltenberg.

It has been stated that English and the Netherlands and possibly Germans want that the IMF does not process the Icelandic case until other issues have been resolved about possible responsibility of the Icelandic government towards the bank account balances in the Icelandic banks overseas.

(News Article by noname)
Original Article in Icelandic

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November 10, 2008

The depression here more serious than the Finland depression

Filed under: economy,Politics — newsfrettir @ 9:21 am
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Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson
The depression facing Icelanders is much more serious than the depression faced Finland the years 1990-1994. It does not matter what economic measure is used. This is the opinion of Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, former foreign minister and ambassador in Finland.

Finland became a nation of poverty in the beginning of the 90´s after the bank system was given loose reins and supervision authorities were weak. When the flow of foreign money slowed down and loan options, interests raised, business deals worsened and the Soviet crashed, Finland crashed.

The businesses went bankrupt and unemployment was at average 18%, but some counties 50%. Jón Baldvin says that the situation of the Icelandic nation is much worse than when the Finland crash hit.

Jón Baldvins opinion is that what saved Finland was that they created a firm direction to the future right away. The political decision was taken to change Finland from an industrial nation to a high technology nation with changes in their educational system. Also it was decided to throw the Finland Mark.

Even the Finland progressive party decided to apply for admission in ESB in the year 1993. The Finland nation were not alone in the world.

(News Article by noname)
Original Article in Icelandic

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November 7, 2008

Haarde confirms Polish assistance

Filed under: economy,Politics — newsfrettir @ 7:45 pm
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Geir H. Haarde prime minister at the news conferance today
Geir H. Haarde, prime minister, confirmed at a press conference that Polish authorities are going to lend the Icelandic nation 200 million USD. At noon the prime minister said he knew nothing about the loan that was posted in foreign media. Geir said this had been confirmed in a conversation between the finance ministers of Iceland and Poland.

When asked Geir says the reason that he did not know about the loan from Poand he says that the Polish went to the Swedish. The Polish finance minister said to Árni M. Mathiesen, finance minister of Iceland, today that they knew hardship of this kind besides that many Polish people have worked here. Geir thanked the Polish for their support and says this is true manliness.

He says the initiative was completely from the Polish as the Faeroe and it is to be thanked for.

Additionally to the IMF Icelandic authorities have spoken with the other Nordic countries and Russians about loan and later it was both Faeroe nation and Polish that added t the group that are going to lend the Icelandic nation, said Geir and added that there has not been made any appointments with the Russians about a possible loan.

Geir said at the meeting that Jose Manuel Barroso, the chairman executive of the European Union, had offered Iceland a loan from the emergency fund of the European Union. He has answered the letter immediately and Iceland will accept help from the fund. The handling on the other hand with express treatment will take four to six weeks and it is not in the package from IMF. Geir says that the finance minister has information that the amounts are not large that Iceland can get from the fund.

(News Article by noname)
Original Article in Icelandic

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November 5, 2008

The giant halo of Jón Ásgeir

Filed under: jobs,Politics,Uncategorized — newsfrettir @ 11:56 am
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Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir Minister of Culture and Education says it is inevitable to insure the status of the Government media if there will be increased oligopoly in the media market. The situation is at hand that there might be only one person in charge of all media in Iceland, except the Government media.

A bank owned by the government, Landsbankinn, seems to have initiative in the matter but his administrators have to step forward and explain their side and explain to the nation what interests are behind this. It is essential to destroy all suspicion. Companies are to sit at the same table with the banks and the public shall not be ignored. She says it is inevitable that the Government media will pack their sails somewhat like other companies and it´s status on the advertisement market will be reviewed with competitive status in mind compared to other media. It is very risky to hand one man the whole advertisement market on a silver plate.

The congress were harsh in their words towards the media company Rauðsól which was called giant halo and monopoly fortress. Guðni Ágústsson chairman of the progressive party wanted to revoke the merging of the companies but challenged Björgvin G. Sigurðsson to react. It did come up in the discussions that the alignment party was happy, they carry a red sun in their chest.

(Translators note : Jón Ásgeir was formerly involved with Baugur group. Rauðsól translates to : Redsun.)

(News Article by Þóra Kristín Ásgeirsdóttir)
Original Article & Video in Icelandic

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