The President of Iceland has refused to sign a bill to repay more than $5 billion dollars worth of lost bank deposits to Britain and the Netherlands until the Icelandic people vote on it in a referendum.
Should a struggling economy be made to pay back what it’s borrowed? Or is a deal a deal?
Icelanders feel hard done by and believe that the UK is part responsible for driving their banks into the ground. Around a quarter of the population have signed a petition against repaying the money. Should Icelanders have to foot the bill alone?
Icelandic journalist Iris Erlingsdottir thinks not.
“It would indeed feel satisfying to tell the Brits to cram it. The invocation of anti-terror legislation against a NATO ally in a matter that obviously did not involve any physical danger to the British public was insulting and irresponsible. The bullying tactics employed against a much smaller country that was in obvious distress demonstrated a complete lack of tact or compassion.Nevertheless, Ólafur Ragnar should sign the bill …It’s the right thing to do because the foreign depositors relied on the integrity of the Icelandic banking regime when they placed their funds in Landsbanki’s hands.So, we’re damned if we sign the IceSave agreement, and damned if we don’t. We need every krona we can get to rebuild our damaged economy, and it hurts to see these funds shipped off-shore.”
Here’s another frustrated blogger.
“I think it sucks bigtime that we, the Icelandic taxpayers who had nothing to do with launching or operating Icesave, are stuck with the debt. Yet I can also put myself in the position of those depositors who put their money into Icesave in good faith. ”
Likewise there are depositors putting themselves in the shoes of the Icelanders. Take this dutch blogger – he’s been doing his maths and feels that the foreign investors should support the people of Iceland instead of robbing them.
Should Iceland live up to its obligations? Or is this the risk foreigners take when they decide to invest abroad?