Icelandic president’s views on Icesave vex government minister

Ossur Skarphedinsson, Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, believes the President of the Republic went too far when he recently criticised the government over the Icesave dispute in the foreign media. It is not possible to see the President’s words as anything but a direct attack on the government, the minister says.

President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson has used recent foreign and domestic media interviews to criticise governments in Iceland and across Europe for their handling of the Icesave affair.

Ossur Skarphedinsson told Visir.is that it is quite inappropriate for the President to criticise other European nations in the way he has done. The Icelandic president is traditionally something of a figurehead and not directly involved in politics — and certainly not international political relations between governments. Olafur Ragnar Grimsson has, however, changed the role of President by his actions since 1996. Skarphedinsson believes ‘Europe’ should not be tarred with one brush, because the Nordic countries, Poland and the Faroe Islands have all been very supportive of Iceland since the crash.

“The President should watch what he says. It is not possible to look at this any other way than that it was a deliberate attack on the government in this specific matter, and not least on the Minister of Finance. That is my opinion,” Skarphedinsson said.

The president is not prohibited from giving his views, however: “He has not gone outside of any legal limits,” Skarphedinsson added. “But I am of the opinion that the President should not talk like that against the government.”

(Large main page photo: Alëx Elliott // IceNews)

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