sabato 26 febbraio 2011

Perchè gli islandesi hanno ragione

Questo articolo è comparso sul Wall Street Journal di mercoledì scorso: è breve ma di sostanza e lo riproduco integralmente, ancora una volta il grassetto l'ho aggiunto io.

Iceland's voters will once again get to have their say over whether they should bear the cost of the 2008 bailouts of British and Dutch depositors in Icelandic banks. And a new poll out yesterday suggests that this time, they might just approve the deal, struck in December between the governments of the three countries. A yes vote in a referendum likely to be held in early April would leave Iceland in hock to London and The Hague for as long as 35 years—and this because the British and Dutch governments decided, of their own volition, to bail out their own citizens.
The dispute dates back to the height of the financial panic. Icelandic banks, which had aggressively marketed high-yielding savings products in the EU, collapsed when the financial markets seized up that fall, leaving the deposits of more than 300,000 Dutch and British depositors in jeopardy. The decision to bailout Icesave depositors in their countries cost those governments £3.1 billion ($5 billion)—but all of that money went to their own countrymen, those who had made the choice of investing their savings in Iceland. It did nothing to stave off the near-total collapse of Iceland's banking sector or the collapse in its currency. And thanks in part to British and Dutch demands for repayment, Iceland remains, two and a half years later, shut out of global capital markets.
Last year, Icelandic voters overwhelmingly rejected an earlier deal to repay the money over 15 years. The new agreement should prove much less costly to Icelandic taxpayers than the original, with the President estimating that they could be on the hook for as little as £246 million in direct costs. But it's unclear why Iceland should bear the costs of bailing out the Dutch and British at all.
If those countries' governments felt it necessary to make their people whole, that is their affair. It's hardly surprising that the people of Iceland would prefer to put the whole business behind them, as the most recent polling suggests. But that should not be taken as vindication of the U.K.'s and Netherlands' two-and-a-half year campaign of vilification of Iceland.

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