31.07.2013 · The Government

The Government of the Faroes condemns EU plans to impose coercive economic measures

The Government of the Faroes condemns the intention of the European Commission, which was supported today by a majority of EU Member States, to impose coercive economic measures on the Faroe Islands due to the disagreement on the allocation of Atlanto-Scandian herring. The Government is now considering which available international dispute settlement mechanisms should be pursued.

Prime Minister Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen said: “The EU is clearly acting in contravention of its international obligations to cooperate on the management of shared fish stocks. These measures will seriously undermine efforts to reach a joint management arrangement for the herring, which is necessary.”

The Government of the Faroes views the intended measures as an unacceptable abuse of power by the EU. Prime Minister Johannesen stated: “It is short-sighted and ill-considered of the EU to take such an unjustifiable step against one of its nearest European neighbours and partners. The Faroe Islands may be small, but we are strategically placed as an important stakeholder in shared pelagic fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic. It is difficult to see what purpose these measures serve other than to protect fishing industry interests within the EU.“

“The Faroese industry is already adapting its business and developing new markets elsewhere around the world,” said Mr Johannessen, while also noting that “there will of course be significant negative impacts on traditional business related to herring and mackerel between the Faroes and the EU.”

Prime Minister Johannesen also expressed his concern as to the effect these measures will have on the multilateral negotiation process: “These negotiations need to continue in earnest if we are going to find agreement between all the parties on the allocation of the herring. A meeting between coastal States on the herring has been scheduled for early September. However, the EU’s plans, as confirmed today will, seriously compromise the spirit of mutual respect and cooperation which is crucial to ensuring that real progress can be made through balanced and constructive consultations,” said Mr Johannesen.

For further information, contact Mrs Kate Sanderson, Head of the Mission of the Faroes to the EU, tel: +32 477 250 160; e-mail: kates@tinganes.fo