“We’ve been occupied by Denmark for 600 years! That is enough and we need to change that soon.”
These are the words of Birgir Enni, a community fixture and captain of Faroese sightseeing vessel Norðlýsið, who has spoken to TheLocal.dk about the future relations between Denmark and the Faroe Islands.
The Danish news website has also discussed this particular topic with Poul Michelsen, the Faroese minister of foreign affairs and trade, Hanna Jensen, co-founder of the Progressive Party, and Øssur Hovland, a retired teacher.
Quotes from The Local article:
Birgir Enni: “We are so far away from everything, we have a lot of everything, we don’t need anything from anybody…We’ve been occupied by Denmark for 600 years! That is enough and we need to change that soon.”
Poul Michelsen: “We are not Danes, we will never be Danes, we can’t be Danes, we are Faroese and that’s it… we have to stand up for it and fight for it…We are becoming more independent everyday… because we’re taking more and more responsibility. The gap between Denmark and the Faroes comes quite naturally.”
Hanna Jensen: “Denmark is not a hard master…Denmark has its own motivations, its own needs and interests for its own place in the world…they are trying to also include our needs, our motivations and our wants, but they collide regularly.”
Øssur Hovland: “I have no problem being in a union with Denmark…We are 50,000 people, it’s more convenient to be in a nation of five million people.”
The Faroe Islands have been a self-governing country within the Kingdom of Denmark since 1948. The Faroese have control of most domestic matters. Areas that remain the responsibility of Denmark include military defence, policing and the justice department, currency, and foreign affairs. However, as they are not part of the same customs area as Denmark, the Faroe Islands have an independent trade policy and can establish trade agreements with other states. The islands also have representation in the Nordic Council as members of the Danish delegation. The Faroe Islands also have their own national teams competing in certain sports.
The current Faroese government consists of two pro-independence parties (Republic/Tjóðveldi and The Progressive Party/Framsókn) as well as the more moderate Social Democrats (Javnaðarflokkurin).