The Ministers for Foreign Affairs from the three West Nordic countries, Poul Michelsen, Faroe Islands, Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, Iceland and Vittus Qujaukitsoq, Greenland, met in Tórshavn on 21 and 22 August 2016 to discuss foreign policy and trade issues of common interest.
The West Nordic countries make up a region of increasing global importance and interest internationally. In order to best protect the interests of their populations, it is of great importance that the three West Nordic countries stand together and cooperate closely in common areas of trade and foreign policy.
The decision of the United Kingdom to leave the EU can affect the trade interests of the West Nordic countries and it is important that this challenge is also discussed jointly in order to ensure our common interests.
On the agenda for the meetings in Tórshavn were two items in particular:
Firstly, it was decided to establish a working group with participants from the three countries to draft a proposal for a cooperation agreement between the three countries. This comes in part from the adoption by the Parliaments of the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Iceland of Recommendation 1/2015 of the West Nordic Council (regarding, amongst other matters the appointment of a working group to assess common benefits in a free trade agreement and the establishment of a West Nordic Trade Council). Greenland has offered to host the first meeting of the working group, which is scheduled to take place in October in Nuuk. The working group will also discuss how the West Nordic countries can in general gain more through increased cooperation in the area of trade area with third countries.
Secondly, the possibility of holding an annual meeting between the three Foreign Ministers was also discussed. The three ministers concluded by confirming their intention to meet regularly every year to discuss matters of common interest in the area of trade and foreign policy. The next ministerial meeting will be held in Iceland in 2017.
Kvívík, 22 August 2016
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade
Minister for Industry, Labour, Trade and
Minister for Foreign Affairs