Wednesday

17th Jul 2019

Icelandic PM warns EU over Icesave

  • Reykjavik: Citizens are strongly opposed to the Icesave deal (Photo: Johannes Jansson/norden.org)

The prime minister of Iceland, Johanna Sigurdardottir, has warned the European Commission of the "damage" that could be caused by making links between the ongoing Icesave banking dispute and the economic support being delivered by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Meeting with the commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso, and enlargement commissioner Ollie Rehn, in Brussels on Thursday (4 February) she "underlined potential unfortunate and damaging effects of any link made by member states between the Icesave issue and the second review of Iceland's economic programme with the IMF," according to a statement from her office, referring to the row between between the north Atlantic nation and the Netherlands and the UK.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

After the Icelandic Icesave internet bank collapsed in 2008, depositers in the UK and the Netherlands were compensated by their governments to the tune of €3.8 billion. The Hague and London now are demanding Reykjavik pay them back.

The government has agreed to do so, but the terms are considered onerous by a majority of the population. Under the terms of the agreement the loan will be paid back over 15 years with interest, with estimates suggesting every household will have to contribute around €45,000.

The president of the country refused to sign the government bill that approved a schedule of payments to the two governments, provoking a referendum on the matter due on 6 March, which analysts and pollsters expect the government to lose.

"Many Icelanders believed that they were the victims of imperfect EU legislation and that many believed the burden to be unfairly distributed between the three countries involved," Ms Sigurðardóttir told the EU leaders.

The prime minister also noted how important the IMF loans and related loans from the Nordic countries and others are for the rebuilding of Iceland's economy.

"We discussed frankly the Icesave issue and the situation in Iceland," she said. "It is extremely important to explain to key players in the EU the situation in which Icelanders find themselves and to explore all possible avenues for solutions and of course everything was on the table."

Ms Sigurdardottir also underlined that EU accession procedures should not be held up by the current dispute during a discussion with the two commissioners over the state of play with the country's membership application.

EU split on Western Balkans accession

Europe's credibility is at risk in the Western Balkans, half its member states have warned - but EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said Albania and North Macedonia unlikely to start accession talks soon.

Tensions mount over Kosovo-Serbia deal

Serbia will never recognise Kosovo, Serbia's foreign minister has said, as the Western Balkans heads into a new period of turbulence.

Opinion

EU report recognises Albania's achievements

Albania currently faces a serious crisis, which it would be foolish for all actors in the international community to ignore. Yet we must ask that our partners in Europe read Federica Mogherini's report carefully and recognise accomplishments.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Von der Leyen faces gender battle for commission posts
  2. EU proposes yearly rule-of-law 'reviews'
  3. Poland 'optimistic' despite new EU law checks
  4. What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?
  5. Is Golden Dawn's MEP head of a criminal organisation?
  6. Finland rejects call to end sponsorship of EU presidency
  7. MH17 five years on: when will Russia be punished?
  8. EU commission has first-ever woman president

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us