Faroe Islands and the European Union

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Euro-Faroese relations
Map indicating locations of European Union and Faroe Islands

European Union

Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands, a self-governing nation within the Kingdom of Denmark, is not part of the EU, as explicitly asserted by both Rome treaties.[1]

The relations of the Faroe Islands with the EU are governed by a Fisheries Agreement (1977) and a Free Trade Agreement (1991, revised 1998). The main reason for remaining outside the EU is disagreements about the Common Fisheries Policy.[2]

EU relations[edit]

As explicitly asserted by both Rome treaties, the Faroe Islands is not part of the European Union. Moreover, a protocol to the treaty of accession of Denmark to the European Communities stipulates that Danish nationals residing in the Faroe Islands are not to be considered as Danish nationals within the meaning of the treaties. Hence, Danish people living in the Faroes are not citizens of the European Union (other EU nationals living there remain EU citizens). However, Danish citizens residing on the Faroe Islands, who hold a regular Danish passport are considered Danish citizens, and thus citizens of a Member State. One of the curious upshots of this is that the citizens can choose which passport they prefer, and thus switch between being EU or non-EU citizens (like a citizen of both the UK and the US can).

The Faroes is not covered by the Schengen free movement agreement, so Schengen visas are not valid and there are border checks. Normally passports are needed,[3] but when travelling between the Faroes and a Nordic country, Nordic citizens can use approved identity cards,[4] since the Faroes are part of the Nordic Passport Union since 1966.

EU boycott against the Faroe Islands[edit]

In July 2013 EU imposed sanctions to the Faroe Islands due to a dispute over the fishing quota of herring and mackerel.[5] The boycott started on 28 August 2013, the boycott implies that Faroese vessels carrying herring or mackerel are banned from all EU ports, including Denmark, Sweden and Finland.[6] The Faroe Islands can no longer export herring or mackerel to EU countries.

Euro adoption[edit]

The Danish krone is currently used by both of its dependent territories, Greenland and Faroe Islands, with their monetary policy controlled by the Danish Central Bank.[7] If Denmark does adopt the euro, separate referendums would be required in both territories to decide whether they should follow suit. Both territories have voted not to be a part of the EU in the past, and their populations will not participate in the Danish euro referendum.[8] The Faroe Islands utilize a special version of the Danish krone coins and notes that have been printed with text in the Faroese language. It is not a separate currency, but can be exchanged 1:1 with the Danish version.[7] On 5 November 2009 the Faroese Parliament approved a proposal to investigate the possibility for euro adoption, including an evaluation of the legal and economic impact of adopting the euro ahead of Denmark.[9][10][11][12]

EU Membership[edit]

Nevertheless, there are politicians, mainly in the right-wing Union Party (Sambandsflokkurin), led by their chairman Kaj Leo Johannesen, who would like to see the Faroes as a member of the EU. However, the chairman of the left-wing Republic (Tjóðveldi), Høgni Hoydal, has expressed concerns that if the Faroes were to join the EU as is, they might vanish inside the EU, sharing this with the situation of the Shetland Islands and Åland today, and wants the local government to solve the political situation between the Faroes and Denmark first.[13] On 26 September 2008, Kaj Leo Johannesen became Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands, and according to him his new government is actively going to seek a progressive Europe-policy, even stating that membership of the EU is a strong possibility.[citation needed]

A major concern is also fishing, which accounts for 90 percent of Faroese exports. As such a large part of their economy, the islands do not want decisions on it being made so far away as they would have so little say in the EU due to their small population.[14]