So the Icelandic government has been in talks with British and Dutch negotiators for the last couple of days over a solution to the Icesave debacle and today it was announced that a resolution is finally in sight.
The agreement they’re set to sign is for a loan to Landsbanki by British and Dutch authorities for a duration of 15 years with 5.5 percent interest. The principal of the loan is ISK 680 billion, which if my conversions serve is USD 5.5 billion / EUR 3.9 billion. No payments need to be made for the next seven years, but meanwhile the interest, ISK 37 billion a year, will continue to be added on.
The loan will carry a sovereign guarantee. Meaning that if Landsbanki doesn’t have the assets to pay, it will be divided onto the 300,000 or so of us who inhabit this country.
That sucks. Bigtime. Debts that belong to private enterprises, that are being shifted onto people who bear no responsibility. [And those who owned the banks are living it up down in Cannes.]
Predictably there has been a loud and heated debate today about this issue, in parliament, in the media. Voices crying out that we shouldn’t have to pay, that we should stand up, put our foot down, stand firm, refuse “to pay the debts of heedless men” as Davíð Oddsson put it so memorably in a Kastljós interview back in October.
However, I have not heard one person mention a critical point: how can we expect our government to guarantee the deposits of every single Icelander in full and not do the same for those foreign depositors that had money in Icelandic banks? Which is what Icesave was. In contrast to, say, Kaupthing Edge in the UK, which operated as a British subsidiary.
It sucks. And the fact that we got screwed over by a bunch of incompetent entrepreneurs is too infuriating for words. But we can’t win and lose, both at the same time. We have to treat others like want to be treated ourselves.
IT’S BEEN BALMY TODAY
Overcast, but mild and calm. This evening, though, it started to rain, softly. It’s currently 9°C [48F]. The sun came up at 3:13 am, sunset will be in about half an hour, at 11.41 pm.
[ps I’m heading out of town this weekend and may not be near a computer, so if your comment isn’t moderated right away I hope you’ll bear with me. And speaking of which, I’ve re-installed the comment guidelines page because I’ve deleted a few comments lately and I think it’s only fair that their owners know why. – Also, I may send the occasional photo to Twitter, via Twitpic, while I’m away – if I see anything worth snapping a picture of, that is. Remember if you’re not on Twitter you can still access those links on my Twitter feed in the sidebar on the right.]