|Faroe Islands. At the beginning of the year, the
self-government government decided that a referendum on a
proposal for a new constitution would be held in April 2018.
The Faroese would then have to say yes or no to increased
self-determination, where the Danish government cannot
prevent the islanders from deciding whether to leave the
national community with Denmark and Greenland. and become an
But the Lagting parliamentarians could
not agree on the wording of the proposal, and at the end of
the year the government was forced to postpone the
referendum indefinitely. Namely, there must be six months
between the Lagting vote and the people's vote.
In February, the largest infrastructure project to date
in the Faroe Islands, a tunnel that will cut the road
between the two largest islands, Streymoy and Eysturoy, was
launched from 55 to 17 kilometers. The tunnel is expected to
be completed by 2020.
Both the self-government government and the
municipalities planned a series of major construction
projects, and economists warned that the economy of the
island was about to overheat. While Denmark had an economic
growth of 1.7% last year, the Faroe Islands economy grew by
close to 8%. For 2017, Faroese growth was forecast at around
7%. The boom has lasted for several years with significant
export earnings, mainly due to high prices of farmed salmon.
Mackerel and herring fishing had also contributed. At the
beginning of the year, the Faroe Islands had the lowest
unemployment rate in the Nordic region, which fell from 8%
during the financial crisis in 2011 to below 3%.
In June, a severe fire broke out in a fishing plant on
Suğuroy, which led to three communities being evacuated when
the smoke contained toxic ammonia. Rescue services from
other islands had to be transported by boat to the site.
In June, the government presented a proposal for reform
of the disputed fisheries policy with the aim of creating
sustainability in the availability of fish, the Faroe
Islands' most important natural resource. The bill stated
that the marine resources belong to the people of the Faroe
Islands and neither in law nor in practice can they become
private property in the fishing industry. The government
also proposed, among other things, that those who
participate in Faroese fishing must be registered as a
taxpayer in the Faroe Islands.
But the reform was contentious, and despite several
compromises, the government found it difficult to create a
majority in the Lagting. The head of government Aksel V.
Johannesen's social democrats split on the issue, and for a
long time threatened the government crisis and new
elections. However, after a number of changes, the law was
passed in December.
The population of the Faroe Islands reached 50,000
residents during the year. The population had increased
after a period of emigration from the islands. According to
the government, many who have studied and lived abroad now
return, foreigners move to the Faroe Islands and more and
more children are born there. Faroese women, on average,
give birth to more children than women in most Western
In September, the first marriage was performed by a
same-sex couple in the Faroe Islands. Two men from England
and Ireland were inaugurated by Torshavn's female mayor. The
law permitting bourgeois marriage of same-sex couples came
into force at the turn of the year, but it is not possible
for gays to be wed in the church in the Faroe Islands.