Faroe Islands. The conflict over future independence from
Denmark was toned down during the year. In January,
Denmark's new Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen came to
Tórshavn and explained that the Faroese themselves can
decide at what rate they want to free themselves. But Fogh
Rasmussen emphasized that his own financial responsibility
comes with the release. At the New Year, among other things,
school and social care to Faroese administration, while the
annual contribution from Denmark of about SEK 1 billion. was
reduced by one third.
However, in the election to the Faroese legislature in
April, the voters appeared hesitant about the government's
plans for independence. The Liberal Union Party, which wants
to maintain ties with Denmark, increased sharply and became
the largest party. But after prolonged negotiations, a
self-government government was formed in which the Union
Party was placed outside along with the Social Democrats,
who want to dampen the pace of liberation.
The Conservative People's Party leader Anfinn Kallsberg
continued as a layman, head of government, with the
Independent Republican leader Høgni Hoydal as deputy layman.
To get a seat on the national government, Republicans were
forced to tone down their independence requirements.
The National Board decided that the financial
contribution from Denmark should not be reduced during the
next four-year term. Only those areas of society that do not
affect the economy must be taken over from Denmark. This
applies to the church, refugee policy and marine environment
issues. This was a concession to the opposition, which
warned that reduced contributions from Denmark threaten the
welfare of the Faroe Islands. In October, Denmark declared
that the Faroe Islands should partly carry out their own
The hope for large oil discoveries on the Faroe Islands
offshore decreased during the year, when it became clear
that the drilling to date had not produced the desired
result. New geological investigations were decided before
the oil drilling is likely to resume in 2003.