Iceland drafts in Burson-Marsteller to defend global reputation

The Icelandic government has brought in heavyweight comms help to shift opinion over a global dispute around the country's financial crisis.

Financial crisis: Protests outside the Icelandic Parliament in 2010 (Credit: Getty Images)
Financial crisis: Protests outside the Icelandic Parliament in 2010 (Credit: Getty Images)

Burson-Marsteller UK has been called in to help Iceland with its global image, working with both the Icelandic Embassy and ministries of foreign affairs, and industries and innovation.

The retained brief covers international comms and public affairs, with the agency exp-ected to focus on an upcoming EU-backed decision that could see Icelandic taxpayers forced to repay the UK £2.35bn.

The Icelandic government is awaiting a decision from a European court that may overturn a referendum held in the country that rejected a deal to pay back British and Dutch savers after Landsbanki’s online savings account Icesave collapsed in 2008.

The agency has refused to be drawn on specifics of the six-figure work, but director of the corporate and crisis practice Michael Hartt said: ‘This sits well with our international affairs expertise: helping countries manage issues that affect their reputation and educate decision makers, particularly on economic and political matters.’

As part of a dual brief the agency will also fight the government’s corner in a bitter row around over-fishing.

Ireland and a number of other states are pressing for EU sanctions accusing Iceland of increasing its mackerel catch, with a well-placed source suggesting the government is looking to speak more ‘clearly and accurately’ around the issue.

The source added that the Icelandic government felt that there had been inter-national ‘misperception and misreporting’ on the Icesave issue.

In 2009 Iceland’s finance ministry brought in FTI Consulting to help to with international comms around Icesave, with the project brief completed shortly afterwards.

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