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 foreign policy.
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.