EU Foreign Affairs Chief: Iceland Currency Controls OK

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EU Foreign Affairs Chief: Iceland Currency Controls OK

By Alëx Elliott
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The EU foreign affairs chief says Iceland’s capital controls are not against European law, for the time being.

Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – unofficially referred to at the EU foreign minister – makes no objection to Iceland’s ongoing currency controls and says they are not against European Economic Area rules.

She stresses, however, that they must be removed again as quickly as possible.

Her opinions were stated in her written response, on behalf of the European Commission, to a question from a Danish Member of the European Parliament.

Ashton notes in her response that the Icelandic authorities applied capital controls in response to the financial collapse and that they were always intended to be temporary.

All the formalities of the EEA Agreement have been fulfilled in the process and the EFTA Court has confirmed that these actions were legitimate, she says.

Ashton does not see any need to re-examine the EEA Agreement, even though Iceland cannot uphold one of the Four Freedoms at the present moment.

The situation cannot continue indefinitely though, and the controls must be lifted sooner or later, RÚV reports.

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