Imagine if/when our President makes an announcement like this…
Icelandic Prime Minister Geir Haarde addressed the nation as the country faced its worst economic crisis in modern times.
The entire world is experiencing a major economic crisis, which can be likened in its effects on the world’s banking systems, to an economic natural disaster.
The Icelandic banks have not escaped this banking crisis. Under all normal circumstances larger banks would be more likely to survive temporary difficulties, but the disaster which is now engulfing the world is of a different nature, and the size of the banks in comparison with the Icelandic economy is today their main weakness.
The effects of this chain of events have turned out to be more serious and wide ranging than anyone had expected.
In recent weeks the world’s financial system has been subject to devastating shocks. The effects have been that large international banks have stopped financing other banks and complete lack of confidence has developed in business between banks. This has caused the position of Icelandic banks to deteriorate very rapidly in the last few days.
There is a very real danger, fellow citizens, that the Icelandic economy, in the worst case, could be sucked with the banks into the whirlpool and the result could be national bankruptcy.
The position has today altered completely and for the worse. Major credit lines to the banks have been closed and it was decided this morning to suspend trading with the banks and with the savings funds in the Icelandic Stock Exchange.
If there was ever a time when the Icelandic nation needed to stand together and show fortitude in the face of adversity, then this is the moment. I urge you all to guard that which is most important in the life of everyone of us, protect those values which will survive the storm now beginning.
The task of the authorities over the coming days is clear: to make sure that chaos does not ensue if the Icelandic banks become non-operational. Both in politics and elsewhere it will be important to sheathe our swords. It is very important that we display both calm and consideration during the difficult days ahead.