Claudia in the News: Talks Racist Remarks by MP and Controversial Bank Sale

Today Claudia appeared on the popular local Sunday talk show, Silfrið. The panel discussion centered around the racially charged remarks made by Minister of Infrastructure Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson at a conference of the Icelandic Farmers’ Association (BÍ) more than a week ago. His remarks were made toward BÍ director Vigdís Häsler, a woman of color. The minister has since apologized for his remarks which Vigdís has also accepted and considers the issue resolved from her side.

On today‘s panel, Claudia commended Vigdís for her bravery to speak about the issue and for demanding an apology personally from the minister. Claudia noted however that the Minister‘s remark and its effects transcend Vigdís, whereas over 17 % of the Icelandic population is of foreign origin. Claudia questioned whether an apology only to Vigdís is sufficient and recommended ways in which the Minister could let his actions, moving forward, especially on immigration issues in Iceland speak to his stance towards this minority group. Also discussed on the panel was the controversy surrounding the sale of Íslandsbanki and criticisms of the Minister of Finance’s conduct as well as accusations of illegality. Claudia noted that irrespective of the role of other institutions, such as Icelandic State Financial Investments (icel. Bankaskýsla ríkisins), the responsibility lies with the minister, pursuant to Act no 155/2012 on the sale process of the state’s holdings in financial undertakings. Claudia questioned whether general principles that the act prescribes such as equality, open sales process, transparency, objectivity and efficiency, guided the sale process. She noted that an independent investigation is required and that this is the only way to regain public trust, a trust that has many times before been broken. Claudia noted her concerns about how few women investors took part and that this was not a result of a lack of interest on their part. The show can be viewed here as well as a discussion on MBL about her remarks.