UK’s role in the economic collapse of Iceland on PACE agenda

Strasbourg, 28.11.2008 – Iceland’s parliamentary delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has opened a current affairs debate by suggesting that “a Council of Europe member state, the United Kingdom, was instrumental in bringing down the economy of another member state – Iceland.”


At today’s debate, held during a meeting of PACE’s Standing Committee in Madrid, Steingrímur Sigfússon (Iceland, UEL) explained why his delegation had requested a special discussion on “the economic collapse of Iceland and its correlation with two separate, but linked actions carried out by public authorities in the United Kingdom”.


These were, firstly, the use of Britain’s anti-terror laws to freeze the assets of the Icelandic bank Landsbanki in London and, secondly, the “discriminatory” decision to put the UK subisidary of Iceland’s largest bank, Kaupthing, into administration without consultation.


“The UK government unilaterally resorted to these apparently discriminatory and disproportionate measures against Icelandic banks, with grave consequences for the country’s economy,” the delegation said in a letter to PACE’s President.


“A different response based on the rule of law and good diplomatic practice, conducted in good faith, could have prevented the financial collapse or at least have it made less severe.”


After a lively discussion, at which different views were expressed, PACE President Lluís Maria de Puig concluded by stressing that a follow-up to this debate was likely to be proposed to the PACE Bureau in the near future.