Saturday

27th May 2017

Faroe Islands seek closer EU relations

  • Tinganes - Viking settlers started parliamentary meetings here in 850AD (Photo: EUobserver)

EUOBSERVER / TÓRSHAVN – The Faroe Islands are seeking a stronger and more structured relationship with the European Union and membership of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

"We would like a closer co-operation with the EU – a more structured relationship similar to the one Switzerland has with the EU," said Herluf Sigvaldsson, director of the Faroese government's foreign affairs department.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He told EUobserver that the Faroese government is having informal talks with the EFTA member states – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Although the talks are only in the initial stages and are expected to take a long time, "the strategy is membership", according to Mr Sigvaldsson.

The Faroe Islands – located between the UK's Shetland Islands and Iceland – is, like Greenland, an autonomous region under the sovereignty of the Danish Kingdom.

When Denmark joined the then European Economic Community in 1973, the Faroe Islands chose to stay outside mainly due to the Common Fisheries Policy. Over 95 percent of the Islands' industry depends on fishing.

Currently, the EU's official relationship with the Faroe Islands is regulated by two bilateral agreements – a bilateral fisheries agreement from 1977 and a free trade agreement from 1991, last revised in 1998. The free trade agreement has some quantitative restrictions though.

In November 2003 the Faroe Islands acceded to the Pan-European System of Cumulation of Origin - in principle a mutual free-trade agreement aimed to be in place by 2010.

The recent push for further foreign and economic relations comes as part of an overall attempt by the government to strengthen Faroese capacity to deal with the challenges of globalisation and climate change.

The business community is also in favour of strengthening ties.

"We would like to have an as close collaboration with the EU as possible," said Jan Mortensen, who represents the islands' businesses as the managing director of the Faroese House of Industry.

Mr Mortensen would also like to see the Islands taking part in the EU's internal market securing them the free movement of capital, people, goods and services within the 27-member union..

But although it would like to move politically closer to the EU, the Faroe Islands remain against full membership of the bloc.

Prime minister Jóannes Eidesgaard told this news-site that the government would be concerned that the 18-island nation, with only 48,000 inhabitants, would disappear in a union of almost 500 million people.

Opinion

Faroese face illegal EU fishing sanctions

The battle over Atlantic fishing rights is to reach new levels this week, with EU expected to vote through economic sanctions against the Faroe Islands.

Nato head defends 'blunt' US leader

Nato chief Stoltenberg defended Trump’s behaviour at Thursday’s summit. The prime minister of Montenegro also apologised for him.

Trump lukewarm on Nato joint defence

Trump voiced half-hearted support for Nato and reprimanded allies over what he called unpaid debts on his maiden trip to Europe.

Trump lukewarm on Nato joint defence

Trump voiced half-hearted support for Nato and reprimanded allies over what he called unpaid debts on his maiden trip to Europe.

News in Brief

  1. Malloch will not be US ambassador to the EU
  2. 'Significant' drop in EU migration to UK
  3. Bomb injures former Greek PM
  4. British PM to speak out on US terrorism leaks
  5. Tusk calls for 'values, not just interests' after Trump meeting
  6. Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting
  7. US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat
  8. Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms