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 independent nation. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for frequently used acronyms and abbreviations related to as well as country profile of Faroe Islands.
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 Suðuroy, 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 European countries.
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.