Strategically located where the North Atlantic meets the Arctic, the Faroe Islands lie at the centre of one of the world’s most productive and sustainably managed fisheries regions.
The ocean connects the Faroe Islands with the rest of the world, providing the basis for the economy and a unique and dynamic Faroese way of life.
As a self-governing nation under the external sovereignty of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Faroe Islands have extensive autonomy and engage directly in all relevant areas of international cooperation.
The Faroe Islands are working to advance strong economic and cultural partnerships with other countries in Europe, across the circumpolar region and around the world.
Faroese autonomy in foreign relations is provided for by a treaty between the Faroe Islands and Denmark, the Foreign Policy Act from 2005.
The Foreign Policy Act gives full powers to the Government of the Faroes to negotiate and conclude agreements under international law on behalf of the Kingdom of Denmark where such agreements relate solely to matters which have been fully transferred to the Faroese Authorities.
These include, in brief: external trade relations, customs, taxation and financial policy, business regulation, conservation and management of fisheries and all other utilisation of natural resources, energy and the environment, the labour market, social security, emergency preparedness, education, research and culture.
The scope and procedures for the transfer of legislative and administrative powers to the Faroe Islands are regulated by Act no. 578 from the 24th of June, 2005.
According to this act, the Faroese authorities may decide unilaterally to exercise legislative and administrative powers with respect to the Faroe Islands in all matters not already under Faroese authority, with the exception of the constitution, citizenship, the supreme court, foreign, security and defence policy, and monetary and currency matters.
As a third country in relation to the EU, the Faroe Islands have a fisheries agreement, an agreement on trade in goods, and an agreement on research cooperation with the EU.
In 2006, the Faroe Islands entered into a special economic treaty with Iceland, the Hoyvík Agreement, which established a single economic area encompassing both countries, with free movement of goods, services, capital and persons.
In addition to the EU and Iceland, the Faroe Islands have bilateral free trade agreements with Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
The Faroe Islands are a full member of the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commissionin, under their own name, 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, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO.
They take active part in the regional fisheries management organisations NEAFC, NAFO and NASCO in conjunction with Greenland, as well as separately in SPRFMO.
The Faroe Islands also have bilateral fisheries agreements with Greenland, Iceland, Norway and the Russian Federation, which provide for mutual exchange of fisheries opportunities and access to fish in each other’s waters.
The Faroe Islands participate actively in the multilateral Nordic Cooperation established by the Helsinki Treaty. This treaty has established close cultural cooperation among the Nordic countries, with a common labour market, no passport control, as well as providing for close cooperation regarding social services and access to schools and universities.
The Faroe Islands are recognised as a self-governing entity in the Nordic Council of Ministers, which provides for active participation of the Faroe Islands in their own name. There is full political consensus in the Faroe Islands for attaining full membership of this organisation.
The Faroe Islands have a Mission to the EU in Brussels and
Representations in London, Reykjavík, Moscow, Beijing,
Copenhagen and Tel Aviv opening. The diplomatic representations abroad are a part of the Faroese Foreign Service.