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  The Great Nordic Thread
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Poll
Question: Will Iceland and Norway ever join the EU?
#1Iceland, but not Norway  
#2Norway, but not Iceland  
#3Both  
#4None of them  
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Total Voters: 153

Author Topic: The Great Nordic Thread  (Read 151548 times)
Diouf
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« Reply #200 on: February 28, 2014, 05:36:30 pm »

No child's play for the government

The issue of child benefits for EU workers continue to grow and might now threathen the government's existence. Enhedslisten is prepared to vote with the opposition on this issue, and says that if the government continues to administrate after EU rules and not the law approved in the Danish parliament, then there will be new elections.

This case is about when you should be entitled to child benefits in Denmark. The size of the child benefit depends on the age of the child; a parent of a 1-year old will get 4 404 kr (€590) every three months, while a parent of a 17-year old will get 2 745 kr (€368) every three months. A family can get a maximum of 35 000 (€4 690) a year in child benefits, and family with high incomes will get lower child benefits. In 2010, the government at the time tried to limit especially EU nationals' right to child benefits by demanding that the beneficiary have lived or worked in Denmark for at least two of the last ten years. However, last summer the EU Commission, after a complaint from a German citizen working in Denmark, notified the new Danish government that this law was not in accordance with EU law as it was discriminating against other EU citizens. The Danish Ministry of Justice agreed with this, and therefore the Danish government started to administrate according to EU law which has precedence. This has caused considerable criticism from the opposition.
A few days ago the government proposed a new law which removes the 2 out of 10 years rule for EU nationals, so that the law is consistent with EU law and with how things are actually being administrated. SF(SPP) supports the government, but the none of the other parties do. Instead the Conservatives have proposed a bill that says "the government should ensure that the payment of child benefits happens in accordance with the law that has been adopted in the Danish parliament". All the opposition parties and Enhedslisten have said that they will vote for the bill. Enhedslisten's spokesperson for Social Affairs, Finn Sørensen, said that "for us, it is deeply reprehensible that the government just bows down to the EU. A government has one job, which is to fight for what the Danish parliament decides. It is fundamentally contrary to the Danish constitution and principle of parlamentarism if a government will not follow the majority of the Folketing. If it does not want to do that, it has to call an election and see if it can get support for its policies." He does, however, add that Enhedslisten could be convinced to support the government's proposal, and thereby provide a majority, if substantial measures to fight social dumping are included in the government's bill.

It is hard to predict exactly how serious Enhedslisten are in its threats. On the one hand, an election will almost certainly provide a right-wing majority which the party could get blamed for. However, the relationship between the government and Enhedslisten is not rosy, and this would be a very popular case to take down the government on; fighting for the Danish welfare system and Danish sovereignty against the evil bureaucrats from Brussels and the Polish plumber. The Liberals and the Conservatives would probably not have acted much differently if in government, but they will of course use almost any case to bring down the government, and argue that the government should put up more of a fight against the Commission.
I think the most likely outcome is a deal with Enhedslisten with some measures against social dumping, but you could not rule out the possibility of the government's downfall. Especially some of the Social Liberal ministers are strongly opposed to measures that would restrict the rights of EU citizens and/or renege on the Danish obligation to follow international law.
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Diouf
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« Reply #201 on: March 03, 2014, 10:53:54 am »

The most recent polling average composed by Berlingske on 2 March (2011 election)

Social Democrats 19.5 % (-5.3 %) 34 seats (-10)
Social Liberals 9.4 % (-0.1%) 17 (0)
Conservatives 4.5 % (-0.4%) 8 (=)
SF 3.8 % (-5.4%) 7 (-9)
Liberal Alliance 5.3 % (+0.3%) 9 (=)
Christian Democrats 0.4 % (-0.4%) 0 (=)
DF 19.2 % (+6.9 %) 34 (+12)
Liberals 27.0 % (+0.3%) 47 (=)
Enhedslisten 10.9 % (+4.2%) 19 (+7)

Left wing 43.6 % (-6.6%) 77 (-12)
Right wing 56.4 % (+6.7 %) 98 (+12)

DF have increased further and are now neck and neck with the Social Democrats after the Goldman Sachs case and the current discussions about EU citizens and child benefits.

The Liberals are internally divided in the question about child benefits, and several MEPs, MEP candidates and MPs have been critical about the negative rhetoric used by the frontbenchers. Recent mail leaks also showed that at least one MP said that she would not vote for the Conservative proposal which claims that the Danish law on this issue should be superior to EU law. Perhaps that's why the Liberal leader wrote the PM and urged her to find a common solution together with the Liberals, and suggested that the Liberals would probably not support the Conservative proposal after all. A letter which infuriated the leaders of the three other right-wing parties which had apparently not even been informed.
Now both Enhedslisten and the Liberals have showed a willigness to negotiate with the government, so now it remains to see which of them it chooses. (At least some part of) the Social Democrats might prefer a deal with Enhedslisten which includes measures against social dumping, while the Social Liberals could very well find some of these measures too bureaucratic and anti-business and opt for a perhaps easier agreement with the divided Liberals.
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politicus
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« Reply #202 on: March 03, 2014, 07:03:12 pm »

The most recent polling average composed by Berlingske on 2 March (2011 election)

Social Democrats 19.5 % (-5.3 %) 34 seats (-10)
Social Liberals 9.4 % (-0.1%) 17 (0)
Conservatives 4.5 % (-0.4%) 8 (=)
SF 3.8 % (-5.4%) 7 (-9)
Liberal Alliance 5.3 % (+0.3%) 9 (=)
Christian Democrats 0.4 % (-0.4%) 0 (=)
DF 19.2 % (+6.9 %) 34 (+12)
Liberals 27.0 % (+0.3%) 47 (=)
Enhedslisten 10.9 % (+4.2%) 19 (+7)

Left wing 43.6 % (-6.6%) 77 (-12)

Right wing 56.4 % (+6.7 %) 98 (+12)



Calling the Social Liberals left wing is highly inaccurate. The socioeconomic scale is after all still the important one. The genuine left wing is at 14,7% if you add 19,5% SDs that 34,2% left of centre (and thats only if you ignore Bjarne Corydons descrption of SD as a "centre party"). Less than SD polled alone back in 1990. So bad news for the left indeed.
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Diouf
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« Reply #203 on: March 04, 2014, 05:11:19 am »

The most recent polling average composed by Berlingske on 2 March (2011 election)

Social Democrats 19.5 % (-5.3 %) 34 seats (-10)
Social Liberals 9.4 % (-0.1%) 17 (0)
Conservatives 4.5 % (-0.4%) 8 (=)
SF 3.8 % (-5.4%) 7 (-9)
Liberal Alliance 5.3 % (+0.3%) 9 (=)
Christian Democrats 0.4 % (-0.4%) 0 (=)
DF 19.2 % (+6.9 %) 34 (+12)
Liberals 27.0 % (+0.3%) 47 (=)
Enhedslisten 10.9 % (+4.2%) 19 (+7)

Left wing 43.6 % (-6.6%) 77 (-12)

Right wing 56.4 % (+6.7 %) 98 (+12)



Calling the Social Liberals left wing is highly inaccurate. The socioeconomic scale is after all still the important one. The genuine left wing is at 14,7% if you add 19,5% SDs that 34,2% left of centre (and thats only if you ignore Bjarne Corydons descrption of SD as a "centre party"). Less than SD polled alone back in 1990. So bad news for the left indeed.

Right wing, which I've seen you use as well, is then of course equally wrong with DF's economic polices, which are clearly more left-wing than the government, in mind. Red and blue bloc will give the same problems, and even writing just Thorning and Løkke would not be completely accurate as you couldn't 100 % count out that 1 or 2 of the parties chould change affiliation. Let's just assume that people understand that it doesn't mean that the Social Liberals are socialists economically.
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politicus
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« Reply #204 on: March 05, 2014, 06:58:21 pm »
« Edited: March 05, 2014, 07:01:30 pm by politicus »

Icelands centre-right government is in big trouble after Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson announced that Iceland will withdraw its EU application on February 21. While 2/3 of Icelanders still don't want to join the EU, they do want to vote about the result of their country's long negotiations with Brussels. Both government parties promised a referendum in their election campaign and their decision to ditch that promise has resulted in a major electoral backlash. In a recent Capacent polling IP is at 19% and PP at 13%. Miles away from their huge electoral victory last year. On Saturday 7000 demonstrated against the government on Austarvöllur square in central Reykjavik, the biggest demonstration since the financial crash, and 20% of all Icelandic voters have signed a petition demanding a referendum.
While the government has refused to back down several MPs from the government parties have talked about ending the whole thing with simply putting the negotiations on hold until a new pro-EU majority might want to resume them.

This could potentially be a game changer for Icelands local election on May 31th that otherwise looked quite favorably for IP.

To understand why Icelanders are so mad about this the country's recent history of politicians lying and manipulating during the crash is the main reason.

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MaxQue
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« Reply #205 on: March 05, 2014, 08:10:16 pm »

Iceland government just seems to be an hot potato, burning everyone in it.
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swl
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« Reply #206 on: March 06, 2014, 08:39:34 am »

What happened to the much-discussed exemple of the Icelandic 'Revolution'? The new constitution has never been adopted right?
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politicus
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« Reply #207 on: March 06, 2014, 09:21:38 am »
« Edited: March 06, 2014, 09:36:09 am by politicus »

What happened to the much-discussed example of the Icelandic 'Revolution'? The new constitution has never been adopted right?

No it hasn't. The failure of passing and implementing it was one of the reasons the former centre-left government lost so badly.

Regarding the rest of your question see this thread: https://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=171532.0
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politicus
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« Reply #208 on: March 06, 2014, 04:44:51 pm »
« Edited: March 06, 2014, 04:48:36 pm by politicus »

Iceland government just seems to be an hot potato, burning everyone in it.

True, but the present government has been extremely clumsy handling this.

First Sveinsson ignored the agreement between the parties that the long awaited EU report from the Economic Institute at the University of Iceland should be distributed to all MPs at the same time and gave it to the government MPs first. Then he leaked the content to the two government loyal media Eyjan and Morgunbladid (Icelands largest paper). They then trumpeted the governmet line that the report showed that it would be impossible for Iceland to get any exceptions on farming and fishing and the application process was therefore not worth pursuing any further.
Three days later Sveinsson then withdrew the EU application while accusing the MPs voting for the application back in 2009 for voting against their conscience (which is, believe it or not, unconstitutional in Iceland) and the former Left Green Minister of Finance for lying.

After carefully orchestrating a one sided media presentation Sveinsson then accused the media of one sided anti-government coverage and lack of a serious debate of the report. He then refused to talk to Icelands national broadcaster RUV anymore because they were being mean to him (by asking critical questions and such).

Both government parties then came with rather strange explanations of why exactly their electoral promise of a referendum should not be taken seriously. PP claimed that their unconditional guarantee of a referendum was "only valid if they had entered into a coalition with a pro-EU party" and the IP leader stated that "the promise lost validity after the election since the Indepence Party is against the EU" So "yeah, we made a promise, but it isn't valid anymore because we didn't mean it!".

Around 80% of the Icelandic voters want a referendum, but the fractions in control of both PP and IP at the moment are based on the 20% mainly rural voters who are paranoid that naysayers in Reykjavik will vote yes in a referendum for some unknown reason (because, ya know, townies are weird).

Especially IP is in trouble over this because they have a strong pro-EU wing including the Chamber of Commerce and the employers association. IP leader Bjarni Benediksson was also (at least unofficially) pro-EU and the Euro before he took over the leadership in 2009. But he is a very weak position and doesn't dare to take on the right wing centered around ex Prime Minister and present Morgunbladid editor David Oddsson (one of the main culprits of the financial crash). Also since PP will have difficulty budging on this  issue it could break the coalition if he insists. So this weird crisis where the government wont hold a referendum they could easily win and the voters demand a referendum in order to say no to the question will likely be difficult to resolve.
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Diouf
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« Reply #209 on: March 11, 2014, 06:25:44 am »

Government proposes tougher controls with EU citizens' use of welfare benefits

The government today proposed five measures to control EU citizens' access to welfare benefits further. The PM also stated that Denmark would support Finland in an upcoming case at the EU court where the European Commission accuses Finland of breaching EU law by forcing EU nationals to accrue the right to welfare benefits by working in Finland. The proposals come after weeks of discussions about child benefits for EU nationals which have seen DF siphon off even more voters from the other parties, especially the Social Democrats and the Liberals. Today the discussions between the parties on bringing the Danish law on child benefits in accordance with EU law continue.

The five proposals are as follows:
Quicker and better controls of whether EU nationals on welfare benefits are in fact workers/seeking work.
Establish a unit to control whether recipients of cash benefits in Denmark might have values in other EU countries that make them ineligible for cash benefits.
Persons on cash benefits with a short time of employment in Denmark and poor Danish skills must take Danish courses and attend more interviews at the job centres.
Persons on unemployment benefits with a short time of employment in Denmark and poor Danish skills must take Danish courses and attend more interviews at the job centres.
The unemployment funds should more systematically control whether EU nationals on unemployment benefits are in fact living in Denmark.
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Lurker
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« Reply #210 on: March 19, 2014, 03:50:01 pm »
« Edited: March 19, 2014, 03:53:09 pm by Lurker »

NATO's next Secretary General may be another Scandinavian, at least if we are to believe the Norwegian media. Apparently, Labour Party leader Jens Stoltenberg is the favorite to succeed Fogh Rasmussen, who is stepping down this year.
Obama is said to have recommended him for the post, according to the reports.

Nothing have been decided yet of course, but Stoltenberg is clearly interested in the position. If he does get this job, the Labour party will have to choose a new leader. The overwhelming favorite is Jonas Gahr Støre (54), who has served as both Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Health in the Stoltenberg II cabinet. Støre's background is somewhat unusual for a party leader: He is considered to be part of the Labour Party "right", like Stoltenberg, only joined the Labour Party in his mid 30's, and comes from a wealthy upper class family. Despite, this he apparently has strong support amongst all factions in the Labour Party, and no realistic challengers exist.

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politicus
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« Reply #211 on: March 20, 2014, 09:25:34 am »
« Edited: March 20, 2014, 09:48:28 am by politicus »

JGS was mentioned as a serious contender for the NATO job last time around. So its ironic if he gets to be party chairman because Stoltenberg is chosen as GS this time.

Stoltenberg would be an excellent NATO GS. I hope he gets it.
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Heimdal
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« Reply #212 on: March 20, 2014, 09:44:24 am »

Nothing have been decided yet of course, but Stoltenberg is clearly interested in the position. If he does get this job, the Labour party will have to choose a new leader. The overwhelming favorite is Jonas Gahr Støre (54), who has served as both Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Health in the Stoltenberg II cabinet. Støre's background is somewhat unusual for a party leader: He is considered to be part of the Labour Party "right", like Stoltenberg, only joined the Labour Party in his mid 30's, and comes from a wealthy upper class family. Despite, this he apparently has strong support amongst all factions in the Labour Party, and no realistic challengers exist.

Indeed. I think I have read somewhere that Støre was a supporter (maybe even a member) of Høyre when he was a young man. Støre is a great choice for AP. They will need him to attract the educated and urban middle class that is crucial to their electoral fortunes in 2017.
I was happy to see Stoltenberg leave as prime minister, but I think he could do a great job as NATOs Secretary General. He is obviously a very able man. Not to mention how Norway probably is one of the most enthusiastic and pro-American of the NATO-countries (Norwegian fighter aircrafts delivered about 25 % of the bombs dropped over Libya during the intervention there).
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Lurker
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« Reply #213 on: March 20, 2014, 06:22:30 pm »

Indeed. I think I have read somewhere that Støre was a supporter (maybe even a member) of Høyre when he was a young man. Støre is a great choice for AP. They will need him to attract the educated and urban middle class that is crucial to their electoral fortunes in 2017.
I was happy to see Stoltenberg leave as prime minister, but I think he could do a great job as NATOs Secretary General. He is obviously a very able man. Not to mention how Norway probably is one of the most enthusiastic and pro-American of the NATO-countries (Norwegian fighter aircrafts delivered about 25 % of the bombs dropped over Libya during the intervention there).

Yes, that's true about Støre. There was a story about his background in Høyre a few years back. http://www.dagbladet.no/nyheter/2008/09/17/547220.html

He doesn't seem to ever have been an active member of the party (guess it would have said if he was), but he did have talks with Kåre Willoch about working for him in 1987. In the end, Støre was offered the job but did not take it (for whatever reasons - Støre in 2008 said it was because he, deep down, felt he did not belong in Høyre, but that could well be spin of course).

 
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« Reply #214 on: March 22, 2014, 11:15:30 am »

Indeed. I think I have read somewhere that Støre was a supporter (maybe even a member) of Høyre when he was a young man. Støre is a great choice for AP. They will need him to attract the educated and urban middle class that is crucial to their electoral fortunes in 2017.
I was happy to see Stoltenberg leave as prime minister, but I think he could do a great job as NATOs Secretary General. He is obviously a very able man. Not to mention how Norway probably is one of the most enthusiastic and pro-American of the NATO-countries (Norwegian fighter aircrafts delivered about 25 % of the bombs dropped over Libya during the intervention there).

Yes, that's true about Støre. There was a story about his background in Høyre a few years back. http://www.dagbladet.no/nyheter/2008/09/17/547220.html

He doesn't seem to ever have been an active member of the party (guess it would have said if he was), but he did have talks with Kåre Willoch about working for him in 1987. In the end, Støre was offered the job but did not take it (for whatever reasons - Støre in 2008 said it was because he, deep down, felt he did not belong in Høyre, but that could well be spin of course).

 

I don’t think it would hurt him that much, even if he had been an active member of the party. A lot of people voted for Høyre during the 1980s. There is a precedent here as well. Høyres great chief during the 1960s was John Lyng. He was a member of the communist organization “Mot Dag” during the 1920s.
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« Reply #215 on: March 23, 2014, 04:54:42 pm »

It looks like Stoltenberg will be appointed as the next General-Secretary of NATO.

http://www.nrk.no/norge/_-stoltenberg-new-chief-of-nato-1.11624901

That obviously clears the way for Jonas Gahr Støre as the next leader of the Labor party, and probably the position of prime minister after 2017.
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Diouf
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« Reply #216 on: March 25, 2014, 03:22:35 pm »

In Finland the Left Alliance has announced that it will leave the government over disagreements on the new budget. Now only five parties are left in the government which still has a majority in parliament.
The Left Alliance could not accept lower child benefits and an index freeze of student grants and pensions.
Their leader and the Minister of Culture, Paavo Arhinmäki, has said that if these things are removed from the budget or if the party is allowed to vote against the budget, then it could stay in the government, but that doesn't look realistic.
The next Finnish election will be, at the latest, in April 2015
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Lasitten
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« Reply #217 on: March 26, 2014, 02:43:30 pm »

Quote from: Yle
Left Alliance leaves government

The Left Alliance has left Finland's coalition government after refusing to accept a package of spending cuts and tax rises proposed to balance the state budget.

Leftist MPs had demanded changes to the package negotiated by government party leaders, but their proposal to renegotiate the deal was blocked by the other government parties.

Left Alliance party chair Paavo Arhinmäki announced his party's departure at a cabinet meeting at the House of the Estates on Tuesday evening. The decision means Transport minister Merja Kyllönen will leave her post along with Arhinmäki, who served as the minister for culture.

Mps from the other five parties in government accepted the austerity package in full, leaving ministers from those parties free to continue in their posts.
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freefair
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« Reply #218 on: March 27, 2014, 06:11:47 am »

In Finland the Left Alliance has announced that it will leave the government over disagreements on the new budget. Now only five parties are left in the government which still has a majority in parliament.

Never got why they even wanted/needed to join. I suppose it was the SDs not wanting to be Swamped by the right (they've still got the Green League, mind)
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Lasitten
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« Reply #219 on: March 27, 2014, 07:04:16 am »
« Edited: March 27, 2014, 07:14:54 am by Lasitten »

In Finland the Left Alliance has announced that it will leave the government over disagreements on the new budget. Now only five parties are left in the government which still has a majority in parliament.

Never got why they even wanted/needed to join. I suppose it was the SDs not wanting to be Swamped by the right (they've still got the Green League, mind)

Because the best way to change things is from within the goverment?

The next big question for the government is the Fennovoima's nuclear plant. They changed the builder to Russian Rossatom and the greens think that the change is so major that they want to have a completely new processing on the issue and to vote for it in the parliament - and so exit the government.
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politicus
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« Reply #220 on: March 31, 2014, 05:27:13 pm »
« Edited: April 01, 2014, 04:44:25 am by politicus »

The Icelandic government has launched its grand plan for relieving household debt from the nations troubled home owners by offering discounts for inflation indexed loans. The plan reduces household debt for a total of 80 billion Icelandic kronor and a single household can get a maximum of 4 million kronor/20% reduction.

The promise to reduce household debt was the big selling point for the ruling Progress Party during the election campaign and its leader Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson said at the press conference where he launched the plan that one of the biggest campaign promises an Icelandic politician has ever given "was now fullfilled".

Still, this is a far cry from the 300 billion reduction paid for by foreign creditors he talked about during the election campaign.

Now its 80 billion from a raised banking tax (with no restrictions on how much of it can be passed on to customers) + 70 billion in tax discounts for people saving to buy their own home or reducing their mortgages, which could potentially include up to 100.000 households (as in virtually everybody in a country with 325.000 inhabitants..).

The tax discounts also include non-home owners who start saving for a flat or house to make it easier for young Icelanders to enter the housing market.
 
Still, the government's plan has been criticised by the usual negative types for not including low income groups like pensioners, students and people in council estates + ignoring the added risk of increased inflation and that the money could have been better spent investing in growth and job creation. But haters gonna hate. I am sure this will be a big success.
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politicus
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« Reply #221 on: March 31, 2014, 06:35:10 pm »
« Edited: April 03, 2014, 08:58:48 am by politicus »

Former Greenlandic PM Kuupik Kleist has stepped down as leader of the main opposition party the left wing and nationalist IA on his 56th birthsday claiming he is getting too old to be party chairman. This probably leaves the door open for current MP in the Folketing Sara Olsvig (35) or interim chairman Aqqaluaq B. Egede (33) to challenge Aleqa Hammond at the next election.
This clearly increases the governments chance of survival considerably. Its a bit unclear why Kleist steps down now given that the government is down to a 1 seat majority in the Inatsisartut and a premature election is far from unlikely.

EDIT: Kleist has been uninspired as opposition leader so its no great surpise that he quits, its just the timing thats a bit odd.

It seems he wants to finish as a well paid "consultant" using his political connections to make some dough. Of course he calls it being an entrepreneur in the private sector, but the consultant firm he has started with two other old comrades seems to indicate otherwise.

A lot of praise to Kleist in the press from political opponents, which is unusual. But he was clearly the most talented PM Greenland has had.
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Simfan34
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« Reply #222 on: April 01, 2014, 12:19:50 pm »

56 is too old? Those crazy Nordics...
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politicus
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« Reply #223 on: April 01, 2014, 02:19:36 pm »

56 is too old? Those crazy Nordics... Inuits.

ftfy

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Simfan34
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« Reply #224 on: April 01, 2014, 07:58:35 pm »

For some reason I thought it was Iceland.
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