Busy at Icelandic parliament on last day of summer term

Icelandic parliamentarians were exceptionally busy on Saturday, passing 20 new laws and agreeing to end the summer term that day.

The government did not get all its own way on the last day of the summer session though.

Among the laws which were passed was the law on Iceland’s currency exchange controls. The government had wanted to extend the deadline for their removal by four years; but parliament only voted to lengthen the time frame by two years, Visir.is reported. The decision to increase or decrease the number of government ministries will remain with parliament and not the Prime Minister, as PM Johanna Sigurdardottir had hoped for in her bill on ministries.

New upkeep settlements were agreed by parliament for the National Museum of Iceland and the National Library & University Library; as well as a new law on museums.

The Aarhus Convention (otherwise known as The UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters) was also passed by the Althingi parliament — five years after the environment minister assembled a working group on its ratification and implementation. There was concern, among other things, that the right to complain about government decisions to the complaints committee is limited only to those directly involved in each case/decision.

Parliament also voted to allow the Housing Finance Fund to offer non-inflation-indexed mortgages for the first time and value added tax on electronic books was cut to seven percent.