Icelandic news translated into English

November 13, 2008

Will Iceland accept it‘s responsabilities?

Filed under: economy,Politics — newsfrettir @ 1:33 pm
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‚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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November 12, 2008

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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