- About the Faroe Islands
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The Faroe Islands is an island nation situated in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean, between Scotland and Iceland. The Faroes is a self-governing territory encompassed by the external sovereignty of the Kingdom of Denmark. A nation of approximately 48,000 with its own democratically elected parliament and executive government, defined by the Home Rule Act of 1948.
Though the self-government of the Faroes is mainly developed in the internal sense, they also exercise a great degree of foreign policy. The best example is the fact that they chose to remain outside the European Union (then the EEC), when Denmark chose to enter as a member state.
Treaty making powers
The Faroese autonomy in their foreign relations is provided by a treaty between the Faroes and Denmark which is enacted by the Act of 2005 on the Concluding of Agreements under International Law by the Government of the Faroes. This treaty allows the Faroes to represent itself and negotiate treaties under international law with other States and international organisations concerning all matters that are administerd by the Faroese authorities, in brief concerning: External trade relations, imports and exports, taxation and financial policy, business regulation (except the banking sector), regulation of fisheries and other natural resources, energy and the environment, the labour market, social security, emergency preparedness (e.g. search and rescue), education, research and culture. Danish State authorities still administer some important areas such as the currency, the judiciary, police, defence, family and inheritance law, immigration and border control.
Treaties and membership of international organisations
The Faroes have negotiated a fisheries agreement and a free trade agreement with the EU. In 2006 the Faroes entered into a special economic treaty with Iceland, the Hoyvík Agreement, which established a single economic area encompassing both countries where any discrimination regarding goods, services, capital and persons is prohibited.
In addition to the EU and Iceland, the Faroes have entered into regional free trade agreements with Norway and Switzerland as well as a Most-Favoured-Nation Treatment Agreement with the Russian Federation. The Faroes are in principle a free trader and therefore seeking the liberalisation of trade with countries worldwide.
The Faroes are in their own name a full member of the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO), and an associated member of three United Nations specialized agencies – the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientiffic and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). They take active part in the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations NAFO, NASCO and NEAFC in conjunction with Greenland, while Denmark is represented in these RFMO’s by the EU. The Faroes have also entered into fisheries agreements with Greenland, Iceland, Norway and the Russian Federation.
The Faroes participate actively in the multilateral Nordic Cooperation established by the Helsinki Treaty. This treaty has inter alia established close cultural cooperation among the Nordic Countries, established a common labour market, abolished passport control as well as providing for close cooperation regarding social services and access to schools and universities.
Faroese Representations are established in Brussels, Copenhagen, London and in Reykjavík. The Representations in Brussels, London and Reykjavík are established in cooperation with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, thus granting diplomatic status to the Representatives.