Faroe Islands. In March, the Faroe Islands and Denmark made joint demands on a zone south of the Faroe Islands, where the seabed is believed to hide large reserves of gas and oil. The demands were submitted in New York to the UN agency CLCS, the Commission for the Continental Shelf Borders. The UK, Ireland and Iceland also consider themselves entitled to the area, which encompasses thousands of square miles and could have great economic significance in the future. The dispute must be settled by the CLCS.
In May, the Faroe Islands voted by 15 votes to 14 through a draft constitution for the kingdom. The disputed proposal, which was processed and debated for over nine years, had then been revised so that it would not mean that the Faroe Islands were detached from Denmark.
But the Danish government was not satisfied. Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen explained in July that the proposal was contrary to the Danish Constitution and could result in the end of the national community between Denmark and the Faroe Islands (and Greenland).
The Danish play prompted the Faroe Islands’ government chief, Kaj Leo Johannesen, to immediately withdraw the proposal. His right-wing party, the Sambandspartiet, has traditionally protected the national community with Denmark.
In the October general election, the Union Party was successful and increased by a mandate to 8, while the Independent Party Republican returned with 2 seats and stayed at 6. The election result was a clue to voters ‘views on the Faroe Islands’ future. Another party that wants to proceed cautiously on the issue of independence, the People’s Party, also increased with a mandate to 8. Also the newly formed Progress Party, which took 2 mandates, protects the cooperation with Denmark. The Social Democrats, who occupy a middle position, retained their 6 seats.
The sitting minority coalition with the Unionist Party and the Social Democrats dissolved after the election. However, Kaj Leo Johannesen continued as a layman, and in November he formed a bourgeois coalition with the Union Party, the People’s Party and the small parties Center Party and the Self-Government Party. The new coalition gained a majority with 19 of the Lagting’s 33 seats. In the Danish parliamentary elections in September, the two Faroese mandates went to the Sambandspartiet and the Social Democrats, respectively.