In a recent interview with British news broadcaster Sky News, Iceland’s President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson declared that Iceland as a country will never forgive former British PM Gordon Brown for his handling of the Icesave dispute following the collapse of Landsbanki in October 2008.
In a rather dramatic statement which was made on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Iceland’s President told Sky News: “The Gordon Brown government decided, to its eternal shame, to put the Icelandic government on a list of terrorist states and terrorist phenomena. We were there together with al Qaeda and the Taliban on that list.”
Following Iceland’s banking collapse, the UK invoked anti-terrorism laws and sanctions to freeze Icelandic assets in Britain in fear that Iceland would not refund UK deposits in Icesave saving accounts, which provoked short-term outrage in Iceland at the time.
Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson added: “We have not forgotten that in Iceland. Gordon Brown will be long remembered in my country for centuries to come, long after he has been completely forgotten in Britain.”
During the interview, the President also voiced his personal reluctance to seeing Iceland join the EU, stating that “It’s quite clear both in my country and other parts of northern Europe that there is a growing scepticism about the way the European Union is moving forward.”
Once an ardent supporter of Iceland’s pre-crisis financial boom, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson is no stranger to bombastic statements to the foreign press, declaring on the BBC for example, following the Eyjafjallajökull eruption in April 2010: “The time for Katla to erupt is coming close. What we have seen now [Eyjafjallajökull’s eruption] is in fact a small rehearsal of what is to come”.
Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson was re-elected for a record fifth term in July 2012, making him one of the world’s longest running non-royal national leaders with the likes of Byelorussian president Alexander Lukashenko and the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez.