Icelandic Parliamentary Committee Unanimously Passes Bank Separation Motion
March 20, 2013 • 9:34AM

Late last Tuesday, we received the news that the bank separation text was changed before the vote. The changed section is:

"The minister shall set up a committee to explore whether and in what way the separation shall be conducted in order to minimize the risk of the banking system to the economy of the nation." This weakens the original motion somewhat, but the sponsor of the motion thought that it was still an important step forward, and is hoping that the motion can come up for a vote before they end their session.

"Parliament resolves to entrust the Minister of Economic Affairs with the task of appointing a committee which is to revise the framework of banking services in Iceland in order to minimize — through the separation of commercial and investment banks — the risk of disruptions within the banking sector for the national economy. The committee is to examine the policymaking of neighboring countries in this regard, and to submit its proposals before October 1st, 2013."

While it has been impossible to reach the committee members on the phone, because they were constantly on the floor of the parliament in order to finish business before their election campaign break (they were supposed to recess on March 16, and are actually running on "overtime" now), a statement from The Schiller Institute in Denmark and Sweden, which included the international Glass-Steagall legislative fact sheet, and a section from a recent article by Helga Zepp-LaRouche dispelling three lies against Glass-Steagall, were sent to all members of the committee, and were also posted on the parliament's homepage. The SI statement urged the members to pass the motion, and let them know that the world was watching their actions.

"The Schiller Institute, and the international political campaign associated with the American economist Lyndon LaRouche, urge you to pass the bank separation motion no. 239 on your agenda tomorrow.

"This will not only be important for Iceland, but also for many other countries which are considering bank separation legislation.... [short summary of the U.S. and international Glass-Steagall legislative initiatives with the fact sheet link]

"Iceland has chosen to follow a different path than austerity and maintenance of the speculative financial values, as is being done in too many other countries.

"Therefore, we hope that the Icelandic Althingi can also show the way towards full bank separation — the most important first step for a recovery of the general welfare and the production-based, not speculation-based, economy."

The website entry was in the form of an opinion about bank separation motion #239, the only statement in favor of the resolution, the rest arguing against from the Icelandic banking establishment.

As of this writing, it is not known whether the motion will come up for a vote in the full Parliament before they break. One source in Parliament said that this would depend on negotiations. Another said that other things have come to a standstill, because they are discussing a new Constitution.

We expect to receive a statement released in connection with the committee vote later today, which will be submitted to this briefing. The February 1st date which appeared in the motion when it was reintroduced in October 2012, has been changed to October 1, 2013.