Margrét Tryggvadóttir, an MP for the political party the Movement, said on Monday after a meeting with the Althingi parliament’s Industry Committee that she will look into whether there is reason to sue over the decision of the Committee on Foreign Investment to permit Canadian company Magma Energy to acquire the majority of shares in Icelandic energy company HS to the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA).
The Committee on Foreign Investment has twice discussed the acquisition. Both times the committee split in disagreement but the majority considered the acquisition legal, Fréttabladid reports.
“It was a good and useful meeting,” Tryggvadóttir said of the meeting with the Industry Committee. “We discussed the matter with two ministers, the Committee on Foreign Investment and representatives from Magma.”
“What stands out is that the Icelandic government appears to be stuck in the 2007 way of thinking that it is incredibly clever to try to elude the law somehow,” the MP commented.
Tryggvadóttir claims that the majority of the Committee on Foreign Investment lacked the courage to deem the acquisition illegal as no similar case has been taken to court in the EEA area. She stated that all documents on legal interpretation indicate that the acquisition was in fact illegal as the minority of the committee pointed out.
Unnur G. Kristjánsdóttir, chairwoman of the Committee on Foreign Investment, said in a statement to the media yesterday that her and the committee’s relations with the Ministry of Economic Affairs in relation with Magma had been good and taken a natural course. No one tried to influence the committee’s decision, she stated.
Minister of Industry Katrín Júlíusdóttir told Fréttabladid that she has no special opinion on whether the committee’s decision will be taken to an ESA court—the committee works for the Ministry of Economic Affairs. She added she has no reason to doubt the committee’s decision as it was advised by four specialists.
Júlíusdóttir said there is no reason for the government to intervene in Magma’s acquisition of HS Energy. “I am trying to close a deal with [Magma] on the state’s preemptive right to buy shares [in HS Energy],” the minister said, adding that Magma CEO Ross Beaty had been positive towards such an arrangement when she discussed the matter with him last spring.