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Icelanders march against Icesave deal

by : Iceland
Tuesday August 18, 2009 - 11:10
2 comments

Icelanders march against Icesave deal

Published: 14 August 2009 16:27 | Changed: 14 August 2009 17:19

By our news staff

About 3,000 Icelanders took to the streets on Thursday to protest against a proposal to repay the losses sustained by Dutch and British investors in the Icesave bankruptcy. The legislative proposal has been stuck in the Icelandic parliament for months, where it is being blocked by a majority of members of parliament.

The Icesave law is a promise to repay the money advanced to Iceland by the governments of the Netherlands and Britain to reimburse Dutch and British investors for the money the lost in the bankruptcy of the Icelandic bank in October 2008.

Under a European agreement, Iceland is under the obligation to repay the first 20,887 euros to each investor. Because Iceland is virtually bankrupt itself, The Hague and London agreed to advance the money.

But the agreement has been fiercely criticised in Iceland itself, where some taxpayers are saying they refuse to cover for the bank’s losses. The group which organised Thursday’s demonstration, InDefence, says it wants to see "a fair deal over Icesave".

In an opinion article in Friday’s Financial Times, Icelandic prime minster Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir asked for understanding for Iceland’s difficult position.

"Iceland has been accused of a tendency to imagine a British or Dutch conspiracy behind any bad news," Sigurdardóttir wrote. "Iceland has no such tendency. My government ... has to deal with the aftermath of the fall of nearly all of Iceland’s privatised banking sector.

"Icelanders, who do not feel responsible for the global banking crisis, are willing to make sacrifices to secure normal relations and trade with the world. But they are angry at having to take on the burden of compensation for the Icesave savings accounts of Landsbanki – a failed, privately owned, commercial bank, which attracted hundreds of thousands of UK and Dutch savers with high interest rates."

Sigurdardóttir said Iceland remains committed to fulfilling its international obligations, but she pointed out that the amount to be shouldered is "huge – about 50 per cent of our gross domestic product".

About 120,000 Dutch investors placed a total of 1.6 billion euros with Icesave in better times. Most have since been reimbursed by the Dutch government up to 100,000 euros per account.

http://www.nrc.nl/international/art...

Parliament in Iceland limits Icesave refund bill

Published: 17 August 2009 15:38 | Changed: 17 August 2009 17:05

By Jan Gerritsen in Reykjavik

Parliament in Iceland has revised a controversial bill concerning the repayment of funds lost by British and Dutch savers in accounts of Icesave, an online subsidiary of the collapsed Icelandic bank Landsbanki.

The Icelandic government struck a deal with Dutch and UK governments over the compensation in June, but politicians have protested against the proposal, which could leave Icelandic taxpayers footing much of the cost.

The Netherlands and the UK lent Iceland 1.3 billion euros and 2.3 billion pounds respectively to allow Iceland to repay savers the 20,887 euros each that was guaranteed to them under a European agreement. The June deal gave Iceland seven years before it needs to start paying interest and redemption of the loans, for which it then has eight years, but the bill has been held up in the Icelandic parliament ever since.

Parliament now wants to revise the bill with the provision that repayment cannot exceed 6 percent of Iceland’s GDP, which comes down to around 500,000 euros per year.

All but one of the major political parties in Iceland - the progressive party - have agreed to the new terms drafted by the parliament’s budget committee. The amended bill is officially up for vote in parliament later this week.

Prime minister Johanna Sigurdardóttir said the conditions fit within the European deal, but opposition leader Bjarni Benediktsson of the conservative Independence Party, said new negotiations with London and The Hague will be necessary. Finance minister Steingrimur Sigfusson said he expects no negative responses from the Netherlands or the UK. "It is in nobody’s interest if Iceland goes bankrupt because of Icesave," Sigfusson said.

Iceland expects the sale of what is left of Landsbanki, the Iceland bank that was nationalised last October, to cover 75 percent of the loans.

On top of limiting the burden to a percentage of the country’s GDP, parliamentarians want to reserve the right to appeal the European rule that the country is responsible for the reimbursement of 20,887 euros for each savings account. The new bill should also allow Iceland to renegotiate the deal in the next five years.

http://www.nrc.nl/international/art...



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Icelanders march against Icesave deal
Wednesday August 19 - 12:00 - Posted by 4135aabfd2e71f37...

Iceland´s Refusal To Pay, A Quantum Leap Away From Debt-Slavery

August 18, 2009 by Notsilvia Night

Here in Iceland people say, that if the country´s government agrees to give in to British and Dutch blackmail to pay the debts of the private internet-subsidiary Ice-Save of the private bank Landsbanki, we all will become Ice-Slaves.

So public opinion is forcing the parliament to refuse unconditional debt-payments. According to a new agreement payments are only to be made conditional as a percentage of economic growth.

Already a large group of international banks have come together to sue Iceland for full and unconditional payments.

Joseph Tirado, from the British law-firm Norton Rose said that a large group of banks will be part of this law-suit. He did not want to give the names of those institutions neither would he say in what court the case would be heard.
EU officials and others are threatening Iceland with international isolation.

Michael Hudson, economic professor, researcher and economic adviser to the Icelandic government calls the Parliament´s agreement a quantum leap, which might, if it succeeds to be implemented, change the world’s financial environment.

He explains in his article

The Specter of Debt Revolt Is Haunting Europe -Why Iceland and Latvia Won’t (and Can’t) Pay for the Kleptocrats’ Ripoffs

how Iceland, like Latvia and other east-European countries was tricked into the neo-liberal model of debt-accumulation and how this led to the financial melt-down;

- how the Dutch and, most of all, the British government deliberately increased the damage and so the debt, which by now has become practically un-payable;

– how the demand to pay the debt would lead to inevitable economic destruction;

 how the British and Dutch government subservient to their country´s private financial institutions blackmailed the Icelandic government negotiators into a self-destructive agreement;

 how even EU- and international financial and legal rules were broken in the process;

- and how this all – with the help of the internet – was made public and so forced the Icelandic parliament to set tight limits on the debt-repayments, limits which connects the repayment with the real growth of the Icelandic economy, preventing also the whole-sale of Icelandic resources to foreign creditors as collateral of the debts.

In Hudsons opinion, if Iceland succeeds with this strategy, if the country can protect it´s sovereignty, then it will become a precedent for all other debtor countries all over the world and will end the unlimited powers of exploitation of the global banking kleptocracy.

Some excerpts from Hudson´s article:.......

http://notsylvia.wordpress.com/2009...




Icelanders march against Icesave deal
Friday July 23 - 03:09 - Posted by asdfasdf - 0ef43a631669210d...




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