Denmark could act as peacemaker in fishiing disputes Published: 22 July, 2013
DENMARK could act as a peacemaker in the seemingly intractable fishing dispute between the Faroe Islands and the European Union and Norway.
Reports from the Faroese capital Torshavn say Danish government has pledged to do all it can to prevent the European Union from taking an action as serious as putting in place economic measures against the Faroe Islands.Denmark is a member of the EU while the Faroe islands are not and Copenhagen is also responsible for the defence and wider foreign policy of the Faroes. The issues in dispute are the quotas the Faroes have given itself on Atlanto-Scandian herring and mackerel, which also involves Iceland.
The Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Villy Søvndal, says he has high hopes that the two parties will return to the negotiating table before the proposed economic measures against the Faroe Islands enter force.
A week ago Søvndal met with Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen, Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Jacob Vestergaard, the Faroese Minister of Fisheries. They met in Copenhagen to discuss how to resolve the dispute with the EU.
The Faroe Islands argues that it has been allocated an unreasonably small part of the total allowable catch. It has therefore set up an autonomous quota, causing outrage from the other coastal nations and leading the EU to announce possible economic measures against the Faroe Islands.
The goal of the meeting was to get assurance that the Faroe Islands wish to re-enter into negotiations, and this assurance was provided from the Faroese government, says the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Meanwhile, the Faroese Government has again urged the EU to return to the negotiating table and says an EU boycott would also pose problems for Denmark of which the Faroe islands is an independent part. In order to avoid serious disruptions to business in the Danish Realm, The Faroese Prime Minister, Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen, also urges the EU to return to the negotiating table. He points out that an economic boycott of the Faroe Islands could endanger thousands of Danish jobs because the vast majority of Faroese exports go through Danish harbours.