Expatica news

Spain says Icesave won’t affect Iceland’s EU bid

Reykjavik – The Spanish EU presidency has assured Iceland that the row over the Icesave bank collapse will not hurt Reykjavik’s bid to join the European Union, Iceland’s foreign ministry said on Saturday.

"The foreign minister of Iceland, Ossur Skarphedinsson, spoke today with Miguel Angel Moratinos, the foreign minister of Spain, which holds the presidency of the European Union," the ministry said in a statement.

"In their conversation, Moratinos stated that the Spanish EU presidency viewed the Icesave issue and Iceland’s EU application as separate issues, and that the new situation that has arisen in Iceland would not have any impact on the EU’s treatment of the application," it said.

On Friday, Moratinos told journalists the row, pitting Reykjavik against EU member states Britain and the Netherlands, "could slow the negotiation process a bit."

Iceland’s President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said on Tuesday he would not sign a controversial bill to compensate the British and Dutch governments for reimbursing Icesave investors, triggering anger in London and The Hague.

Grimsson said he would put the bill to a referendum instead, to be held by March 6 at the latest.

Iceland’s submitted its EU application in July, in the hope that membership would help stabilise the economy following the October 2008 collapse of its once-booming financial sector.