The Government of the Faroe Islands
Office of the Faroese Government
Føroya Landstýri
P.O. Box 64
FR-110 Tórshavn
Tel.: 298 11080
Fax: 298 19667
Telex 81 310 fiskvbfa

Representation in Denmark
Færøernes Repræsentationskontor
Højbroplads 7
DK-1200 Copenhagen K.
Tel.: 45 3314 0866
Fax: 45 3393 8575
Telex 15 677 faroff.

Representation in Britain
Faroese Commercial Attache
150 Market Street
Aberdeen AB1 2PP
Tel.: 44 224 592 777
Fax: 44 224 592 779
Telex 73 158 faroff

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Home Rule in the Faroe Islands is administered by the Parliament which is the legislative body dealing with special matters. Laws passed by the Parliament on special matters are termed Løgtings-Acts, and to take effect must have received the consent of the Løgman (the Prime Minister) of the Faroe Islands.

The Parliament has 32 members, who are elected by direct, general elections for a period of 4 years. A majority of members of the Parliament can, however, call an unscheduled election.

Before the election on 7 July 1994, the Parliament at that time passed a proposal for a new statute concerning the system of Government. This statute has also been passed by this Parliament. The main change is that the Governmental system goes from being a collective system to being a Governmental system with ministers, which includes ministerial responsibilities. This corresponds to the Danish system of Government. Part of the statute which came into force on 29 July 1995 and another part of the statute, including the system with ministers, will take effect from 29 July1996.

The responsibility for the Faroese civil service lies with the Local Government. The members of the Local Government divide the business between themselves so that each member has his own department. However, all important decisions are made at their meetings. Tied votes are broken by the Prime Minister, who has the power to cast a decidingvote.

The members of the Local Government are:

  • Mr. Edmund Joensen, Prime Minister of the Local Government, (Sambandsflk.), responsible for constitutional affairs, subsoil, international trade and fishery agreements, central administration and representations.
    li>    Mr. Jóannes Eidesgaard, Deputy Prime Minister, (Javnaðarfl.) responsible for financial affairs.
  • Mr. Ivan Johannesen, (Sambandsflk.) responsible for fishery, fish industry and fish farming.
  • Mr. Andrias Petersen, (Javnaðarflk.) responsible for health and social services.
  • Mr. Eilif Samuelsen, (Sambandsflk.) responsible for education, energy, environment and municipal affairs.
  • Mr. Axel H. Nolsoe, (Verkamannaflk.) responsible for home affairs, the labour market, insurance and legislation.
  • Mr. Sámal Petur í Grund, (Sjálvstýrisfl.) responsible for communication, mass media, culture, tourism and shipping.

    Generally the Danish Government has the responsibility for foreign affairs. It has, however, become common practice for the Local Government to conduct the negotiations of fishing agreements with other countries themselves, sometimes assisted by the Danish Foreign Office.

The particular status of the Faroe Islands and the structure of trade and industry in the Islands sometimes makes it difficult for the Faroe Islands to share interests and views with Denmark regarding international co-operation and bilateral or multilateral agreements with other countries. Therefore, in accordance with the Home Rule Act, various treaties and international agreements, which are subject to the consent of the Danish Parliament and which are of special Faroese concern, are to be submitted to the Local Government for consideration.

Because of this, Denmark's participation in international economic organisations does not automatically include the Faroe Islands. Negotiations are often conducted with the Faroe Islands at a later stage, which explains, why it has often taken several years for the Faroe Islands to join international economic organisations. This applies to GATT (Denmark became a member in 1950 and the Faroe Islands in 1954) and EFTA (Denmark became a member at the time of establishment in 1959 and the Faroe Islands joined in 1967 - only to give up membership officially in 1973 as a result of Denmark's withdrawal in 1972).

Unlike Denmark, the Faroe Islands are not part of the European Union. In 1974, Parliament by a unanimous vote decided not to apply for membership of the Community.

The Faroe Islands are an independent area for customs purposes. Import duties and the rules pertaining to imports and exports are determined by the Local Government. In this respect the other parts of the Kingdom are to be considered as foreign countries.

Since the Faroe Islands chose not to become a member of the Common Market in 1974, a trade agreement was concluded instead. The first one was signed in 1974, and the second signed in 1991 to take effect from 1 January 1992.

As a condition of the agreement from 1991, the Faroe Islands agreed to implement a non-discriminating indirect tax system towards EU products. Therefore, since 1 January 1993 value-added taxes and excise duties have replaced the former fiscal import duties. Value-added tax is currently 25%.

The Faroese economy can be characterised as a mono-economy totally dependent on the fishing industry. One proof of this is the export accounts, of which the fish products on average account for more than 90% of the exportvalue.

The Faroe Islands are an industrialised country with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and welfare comparable with the rest of the Nordic countries. This welfare is basically founded on a modern fishing industry. Both the fishing fleet and the fish factories are up to date regarding fish finding equipment and the use of EDP in the production. Generally speaking, Faroese industry has been flexible as to re-converting production in accordance with new opportunities.

After a period of 10-15 years of adjustment, the catch structure has reached a new balance, with mutual agreements with the neighbouring countries on the exploitation of fishresources.

On 22 December 1992, the Faroe Islands acquired the rights to the raw materials that might be found in the subsoil.

Oil resources have been found in the UK territory near the Faroese boundary. Because the oil finds are so close, there are potential oil resources within the Faroese territory.

Although the boundary between the United Kingdom and the Faroe Islands has not yet been fixed, the work in preparing an oil industry has started and continues. In 1998 the real search activity is expected to commence.

In the meantime, the seismographic explorations by the American company Western Geophysical Corporation continues, and the results from these are being analysed.

The Government of the Faroe Islands wishes to strengthen trade links and economic co-operation with other countries, and welcomes all inquiries, whether made directly through our offices in Denmark and Britain, or through DanishEmbassies.

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