Sigrún Davíðsdóttir's Icelog

Landsbankinn kept in misery – for now

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No decision yet on the Landsbankinn bond agreement – except an extended deadline, now until November 17. There have been rumours that the government was not happy about the deadlines set. Yesterday, minister of finance Bjarni Benediktsson said on Stöð 2 that the deadlines had been put unilaterally by the LBI and that he considered the deadlines just LBI’s own reference. “If deadlines don’t suit us they don’t suit us,” was Benediktsson’s cryptic answer.

What he did not mention is that Landsbankinn, the other part in the deal is indeed state-owned, which means that the government is not that far removed from the process: after all, the bond agreement is between LBI and the state-owned Landsbankinn. Brinkmanship or not, time is ticking for Landsbankinn: it has funds to finance bond payments early next year but the second payment might prove tough if not impossible.

Benediktsson said the government was working on a holistic solution and progress was being made. He denied rumours that the impasse is due to a disagreement between the two coalition parties. Nevertheless, this is what I believe is the case. Among those who follow the matter the feelings range from disbelief to shrugged shoulders.

This whole affair of deadlines and extended deadlines shows a government not quite knowing what to do or prepared for action as pointed out earlier – and it bodes nothing good for the difficult issues ahead. As one observer said: “There was an invitation to a theatre performance but when the curtains were drawn the stage was empty.” The question is if there will be anything to show on November 17.

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Written by Sigrún Davídsdóttir

November 1st, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Posted in Iceland

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