Minister of the Interior Ólöf Nordal supports a suggestion that the National Church of Iceland be repaid ISK 660 million (USD 5.1 million, EUR 4.3 million) from the state treasury because of cutbacks it was subject to after the economic collapse in 2008 in addition to those other state institutions were subject to.
The suggestion was made by a task force operating for the Ministry of the Interior. “The government discussed it briefly last autumn and stated its clear intent that the church’s needs be met,” Ólöf told RÚV.
Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson commented on Saturday that the church had demonstrated great tolerance and sacrifice in the past years and that it should now be rewarded. “I absolutely agree with the PM that it’s important to show special consideration for the church at this point in time,” Ólöf stated.
The task force suggested that the repayment be made in the course of four years. Ólöf has appointed former state auditor Sigurður Þórðarson with reviewing the financial relations between the state and church and consult the ministry on how the repayment should be made. “I expect him to hand in his conclusion in January.”
When asked why the National Church should be prioritized above other institutions, Ólöf responded, “It’s a very important institution in society. There is no doubt about that. And I have very positive feelings towards the church.”