Faroe Islands. At the beginning of the year, the Faroe
Islands became one of the first countries to secure their
exports to the UK after Brexit. A free trade agreement was
signed in order to enter into force on the UK exit from the
EU. The United Kingdom is the Faroe Islands' closest
neighbor and exports there, mainly of fish, amount to about
SEK 1 billion annually.
An increase in total fish exports has resulted in strong
economic growth. Unemployment has dropped to 1.6%, the
lowest in ten years. Budget surpluses have led to the Faroe
Islands being more self-sufficient financially than before.
The Danish grant is down to only 6% of public revenue.
In the legislative elections in the Faroe Islands in
August, the Social Democrat-led self-government government
lost its majority despite economic growth. The electoral
movement was largely about the government's criticized
fishing reform from 2017. There was also criticism of a new
law that gave gays the right to marry.
The system of selling fishing quotas at auction and a
ceiling for individual shipping companies' quota holdings
had met strong protests from the fishing industry and
aroused opposition mainly in the northern islands. The
Conservative People's Party gave voice to the
dissatisfaction and became the winner of the election,
taking 8 seats. The Liberal Union Party increased to 7
seats. Both the Social Democrats and the Republican
coalition partner went back, to 7 and 6 seats, respectively.
The People's Party, the Unionist Party and the Christian
Democratic Center Party formed a coalition that had a
majority with 17 out of 33 seats in the Lagting. The team
leader and head of government became the leader of the Union
Party Bárður á Steig Nielsen.
The new coalition declared that the disputed fisheries
reform would change. Auctions would be abolished and
shipping companies would be allowed to retain fishing rights
for several years. In addition, foreign capital would again
be invested in Faroese fishing.
The Republican former fisheries minister described the
new policy as a nightmare, where fishing once again falls
into a few private hands and where foreign capital gains