I do not mind getting older. Compared to the alternative it is great. Well, except for one thing. I hate my deteriorating eyesight and having to carry glasses around, in the case that something with smaller lettering than the Hollywood sign requires my attention. The funny thing is though, despite having to rely on lenses to read most of the time, when extremely angry I can see whatever I want. The chemicals anger pumps out into the veins seem to replenish the retina. But it only lasts until the anger subsides, which in my case does usually not take very long. All for the best, I would rather see poorly than be angry all the time.
Today I saw quite well for a spell. The reason, upsetting, unfair news from abroad.
Iceland is not a member of the European Union. It is however, along with Norway and Lichtenstein, a member of the European Economic Area. This means that we take up a lot of the EU regulations and get to trade pretty freely with the EU states, also being party to the European Free Trade Agreement. All in all I think most people are pretty happy with this state of affairs. But every silver lining has a cloud. This in our case is something called the EFTA Surveillance Authority or ESA.
ESA's function is to make sure that Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway follow the free trade agreement. In this past December ESA decided to take Iceland to court over the Icesave accounts, a sucker punch considering that the estate of the fallen bank had begun to pay back the debts, plus penalty interest. Not to mention that the estate assets that are now being sold off appear to be able to cover the debt in full, or the fact that neither of the two countries that the money is owed to filed suit. These countries are England and Holland and they are content with getting the money back although they probably would have liked to get it sooner, understandably. The last payment against the debt and the interest is expected to take place next year, payments are made in accordance with the unloading of assets and these are believed to have all been sold at that time.
One other thing that cannot be mentioned too often. These banks were private banks. They were not owned by the Icelandic state and the money that disappeared from the accounts was used by the owners of the banks to invest abroad. In mainland Europe. It did not end up here. The Icelandic population did not get dibs on it and was not overly enthusiastic in having to take on a massive debt to pay it back. Or in a position to. To pay back one must at some point have had. Otherwise you are just paying. So we voted against an agreement to take onboard the debt of these private banks. Sort of a no-brainer.
Today we learned that the European commission, the executive body of the European Union, has requested to become part of the suit being filed against Iceland. Not to take our side but that of ESA. They want to help them build up a case against us in a hope for a ruling in the favor of the opposing party to Iceland. This is the first time in the history of the EU that the commission has asked to actively cooperate in such proceedings. Undoubtedly I am being sentimental and not in the best place to judge objectively but it feels as if cannons are being pointed at a slingshot. I am not a big fan of expletives but they do feel appropriate now.
Iceland vs. Europe. Anyone know a really, really good lawyer?
Yrsa - Wednesday