Sturla Bvarsson
sturla@sturla.is

Alingi
563 0500

Frttir:

Forseti Alingis varpar fund forseta jinga Evrpursrkja Strassborg

26. ma 2008
Sturla Bvarsson, forseti Alingis, rustl Strassborg (smelli mynd fyrir strri tgfu)

 

 

Fundur forseta jinga Evrpursrkja st yfir Strassborg dagana 22.-23. ma 2008. Umruefni sari fundardaginn var m.a. hvernig jingin geta unni a framgangi lris. Sturla Bvarsson, forseti Alingis, tk tt umrum og geri m.a. a umfjllunarefni snu samskipti lggjafarvalds og framkvmdarvalds.

 

Forsetar jinga Evrpursrkja (smelli mynd fyrir strri tgfu)

 

varpi snu fjallai forseti Alingis um hi mikilvga eftirlitshlutverk jinga og a kjrnir fulltrar ess hefu lrislegt umbo og skyldu til a veita framkvmdarvaldinu ahald. Lagi forseti Alingis srstaka herslu hlutverk stjrnarandstunnar og a starfsastur og starfskjr ingmanna yru a vera viunandi til a styrkja jingin og mikilvg hlutverk eirra.

 

Hr a nean m lesa varp Sturlu Bvarssonar, forseta Alingis, fundi forseta jinga Evrpursrkja Strassborg (stytt tgfa ensku):

 

Madame President, dear colleagues!

 

The themes chosen for this conference are all of great importance.  I am especially interested in this last sub-theme of the conference and would therefore like to share with you my reflections and visions on how we in Althingi, the Icelandic Parliament, may contribute to promoting these core values domestically.

 

We in Iceland are proud of the long parliamentary tradition, dating back to 930 when Althingi was first established.  The element of democracy was much present in the ancient Althingi, despite being different from what we are used to in todays world.  I would like to focus on the role of national parliaments in promoting the value of democracy in present times. 

 

It is sometimes claimed that the executive has the overhand in executive-parliament relations.  This is perhaps an overstatement in Iceland, but I am convinced that our parliaments must remain strong to be able to exert the right and obligation to supervise the executive.  We parliamentarians have a clear democratic mandate and we must respect our duty to be the safeguards of electors and public interest; to be the safeguards of democracy.

 

One of the more vital elements in strengthening  parliaments, is for MPs to have decent terms and a stimulating working environment.  MPs must be financially independent to be able to perform their important work optimally.  Otherwise Parliamentarians have difficulties focusing on their important task and are more easily exposed to special interests. 

 

It is my opinion that the salaries of MPs in our Parliaments are not always in accordance with the important responsibilities that go with the job.  In Iceland, many MPs have to accept a considerable wage decrease when leaving behind their professional carriers for a parliamentary career.  It is important they receive salaries above the average and I will make every effort I can to change this for the better.

 

Having a good working environment is also important.  Since I was elected he President of Althingi last spring, important changes have taken place.  We have hired more professional staff to Althingi, in order to strengthen the Parliament as a whole, making it even more capable to supervise the executive and evaluate the demands of special interest.  An important change, for example, has been made to the organization of the plenum meetings, making discussions more focused and disciplined.

 

The role of the opposition in parliamentary democracies is of great importance.  I have therefore personally stressed the importance of assisting and strengthening the opposition in Althingi, the Icelandic Parliament.  Where the government holds a grand majority, like in Iceland, it is of grand importance to support the opposition.

 

I have in my work focused on strengthening the democratic functioning of Althingi.  The next big step in that direction could be to make a wholesale revision of the tools which the Parliament has to supervise the executive.

 

Madame President, dear colleagues!

 

I have only touched briefly upon two important elements enabling our Parliaments to promote the value of democracy.  I would finally like to repeat how pleased I was to see this important theme on the agenda and thank you for interesting speeches and discussions today and yesterday.

 

 
 
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