EU and Faroes work hard to resolve differences

17 Dec 2013
Prime Minister Johannesen agreed there is a need to get Faroese-EU relations back on track. Photo: norden.org/Magnus Fröderberg

Prime Minister Johannesen agreed there is a need to get Faroese-EU relations back on track. Photo: norden.org/Magnus Fröderberg

The European Union and Faroe Islands are working hard to get back on track, despite the ongoing dispute over mackerel.

Maria Damanaki, the European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries met with Faroese Prime Minister Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen this week to discuss bilateral relations.

In their meeting, Prime Minister Johannesen said he was disappointed that the EU chose to implement "coercive economic measures" against the Faroes on matters that can only be resolved through negotiations.

It is understood that he indicated that the Faroes would be willing to consider withdrawing the processes recently initiated against the EU under UNCLOS and the WTO due to the EU’s actions, if these measures were withdrawn by the EU.

This would, according to Mr Johannesen, not only help progress the ongoing negotiations on mackerel, but could also herald a new beginning in Faroese-EU relations.

Ms Damanaki highlighted the fact that the mackerel negotiations have reached a “crucial” stage with a window of opportunity to reach a compromise among all coastal states on the sharing of the stock for 2014 and beyond.

Both the Prime Minister and Commissioner Damanaki agreed it's time to get relations back on track and to strengthen cooperation in many areas for the future.

But, a spokesperson for Commissioner Damanaki told World Fishing and Aquaculture: "There is no agreement to date on the sharing arrangements for mackerel with all the Coastal States involved."

The next Coastal States meeting will take place on 15 January 2014.

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