Iceland says it has UK assurance on EU bid plan

ICELAND’S foreign minister yesterday said he had been assured by British foreign secretary David Miliband that a presidential rejection of the so-called Icesave bill would not torpedo Iceland’s EU bid.

The president’s refusal to sign a bill to repay Britain and the Netherlands more than $5bn (£3.1bn) their savers lost when Icelandic banks collapsed, forces a referendum on the issue and threatens vital economic aid as well as Iceland’s application to join the European Union.

“I have spoken to foreign secretary Miliband and I have his permission to state officially that this will not affect the EU application,” said Icelandic foreign minister Ossur Skarphedinsson.

The minister said the coalition government was making every effort to limit any potential fallout from President Olafur Grimsson’s move and stressed Iceland’s need for support from its Nordic neighbours.