Europe :: Faroe Islands
(part of the Kingdom of Denmark)

Introduction ::Faroe Islands

    The population of the Faroe Islands is largely descended from Viking settlers who arrived in the 9th century. The islands have been connected politically to Denmark since the 14th century. A high degree of self-government was granted the Faroese in 1948, who have autonomy over most internal affairs while Denmark is responsible for justice, defense, and foreign affairs. The Faroe Islands are not part of the European Union.

Geography ::Faroe Islands

People and Society ::Faroe Islands

Government ::Faroe Islands

    conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Faroe Islands
    local long form: none
    local short form: Foroyar
    part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark since 1948
    name: Torshavn
    geographic coordinates: 62 00 N, 6 46 W
    time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
    none (part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark); there are no first-order administrative divisions as defined by the US Government, but there are 34 municipalities
    none (part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
    Olaifest (Olavsoka), 29 July
    5 June 1953 (Danish Constitution)
    the laws of Denmark, where applicable, apply
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: Queen MARGRETHE II of Denmark (since 14 January 1972), represented by High Commissioner Dan Michael KNUDSEN, chief administrative officer (since 2008)
    head of government: Prime Minister Kaj Leo JOHANNESSEN (since 26 September 2008)
    cabinet: Landsstyri appointed by the prime minister
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: the monarchy is hereditary; high commissioner appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually elected prime minister by the Faroese Parliament; election last held on 14 November 2011 (next to be held no later than November 2015)
    election results: Kaj Leo JOHANNESSEN reelected prime minister in 2011
    unicameral Faroese Parliament or Logting (33 seats; members elected by popular vote on a proportional basis from the seven constituencies to serve four-year terms)
    elections: last held on 29 October 2011 (next to be held no later than October 2015)
    election results: percent of vote by party - Union Party 24.7%, People's Party 22.5%, Republican Party 18.3%, Social Democratic Party 17.7%, Progressive Party 6.3%, Center Party 6.2%, Independence Party 4.2%, other 0.1%; seats by party - Union Party 8, People's Party 8, Republican Party 6, Social Democratic Party 6, Progressive Party 2, Center Party 2, Independence Party 1
    note: election of two seats to the Danish Parliament was last held on 15 September 2011 (next to be held no later than September 2015); results - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Social Democratic Party 1, Union Party 1
    the Faroese Court or Raett (Rett - Danish) decides both civil and criminal cases; the Court is part of the Danish legal system
    Center Party (Midflokkurin) [Jenis av RANA]
    Independence Party (Sjalvstyrisflokkurin) [Kari P. HOJGAARD]
    People's Party (Folkaflokkurin) [Jorgen NICLASEN]
    Progressive Party (Framsokn) [Poul MICHELSEN]
    Republican Party (Tjodveldi) [Hogni HOYDAL]
    Social Democratic Party (Javnadarflokkurin) [Aksel JOHANNESEN]
    Union Party (Sambandsflokkurin) [Kaj Leo JOHANNESEN]
    Arctic Council, IMO (associate), NC, NIB, UNESCO (associate), UPU
    none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
    none (self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
    white with a red cross outlined in blue extending to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted toward the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag); referred to as Merkid, meaning "the banner" or "the mark," the flag resembles those of neighboring Iceland and Norway, and uses the same three colors - but in a different sequence; white represents the clear Faroese sky as well as the foam of the waves; red and blue are traditional Faroese colors
    name: "Mitt alfagra land" (My Fairest Land)
    lyrics/music: Simun av SKAROI/Peter ALBERG
    note: adopted 1948; the anthem is also known as "Tu alfagra land mitt" (Thou Fairest Land of Mine); as an autonomous overseas division of Denmark, the Faroe Islands are permitted their own national anthem

Economy ::Faroe Islands

    The Faroese economy is dependent on fishing, which makes the economy vulnerable to price fluctuations. The sector normally accounts for about 95% of exports and nearly half of GDP. In early 2008 the Faroese economy began to slow as a result of smaller catches and historically high oil prices. The slowdown in the Faroese economy followed a strong performance since the mid-1990s with annual growth rates averaging close to 6%, mostly a result of increased fish landings and salmon farming, and high export prices. Unemployment reached its lowest level in June 2008 at 1.1%. The Faroese Home Rule Government produced increasing budget surpluses in that period, which helped to reduce the large public debt, most of it to Denmark. However, total dependence on fishing and salmon farming make the Faroese economy vulnerable to fluctuations in world demand. Initial discoveries of oil in the Faroese area give hope for eventual oil production, which may provide a foundation for a more diversified economy and less dependence on Danish economic assistance. Aided by an annual subsidy from Denmark amounting to about 3% of Faroese GDP, the Faroese have a standard of living almost equal to that of Denmark and Greenland. The Faroese Government ran relatively large deficits from 2008 to 2010 and budget deficits are forecast for several years ahead. At year-end 2010 the gross debt had reached approximately US$900 million.
    $1.471 billion (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 197
    $1.389 billion (2008 est.)
    $2.32 billion (2010 est.)
    2.9% (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    0.5% (2008 est.)
    $30,500 (2008 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    agriculture: 16%
    industry: 29%
    services: 55% (2007 est.)
    milk, potatoes, vegetables; sheep; salmon, other fish
    fishing, fish processing, small ship repair and refurbishment, handicrafts
    3.4% (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    34,710 (November 2010)
    country comparison to the world: 203
    agriculture: 10.7%
    industry: 18.9%
    services: 70.3% (November 2010)
    6.8% (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    5.7% (2010)
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $1.025 billion
    expenditures: $1.301 billion
    note: Denmark supplies the Faroe Islands with almost one-third of their public funds (2010 est.)
    44.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    -11.9% of GDP (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 208
    calendar year
    2.3% (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 53
    0.4% (2010)
    $824 million (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    $767 million (2009)
    fish and fish products 94%, stamps, ships
    Denmark 23.3%, UK 20.9%, Nigeria 13.7%, US 8.8%, Netherlands 8.4%, Russia 6.9%, China 4.4% (2012)
    $776 million (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    $786 million (2009)
    goods for household consumption 24%, machinery and transport equipment 23.5%, fuels 21.4%, raw materials and semi-manufactures, salt
    Denmark 41.9%, Norway 31.9%, Germany 8.7%, Iceland 5.3% (2012)
    $888.8 million (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    $68.1 million (2006)
    Danish kroner (DKK) per US dollar -
    5.7925 (2012 est.)
    5.3687 (2011 est.)
    5.6241 (2010 est.)
    5.361 (2009)
    5.0236 (2008)

Energy ::Faroe Islands

Communications ::Faroe Islands

    20,200 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    59,400 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    general assessment: good international communications; good domestic facilities
    domestic: conversion to digital system completed in 1998; both NMT (analog) and GSM (digital) mobile telephone systems are installed
    international: country code - 298; satellite earth stations - 1 Orion; 1 fiber-optic submarine cable to the Shetland Islands, linking the Faroe Islands with Denmark and Iceland; fiber-optic submarine cable connection to Canada-Europe cable (2011)
    1 publicly owned TV station; the Faroese telecommunications company distributes local and international channels through its digital terrestrial network; publicly owned radio station supplemented by 2 privately owned stations broadcasting over multiple frequencies (2008)
    7,575 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    37,500 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 176

Transportation ::Faroe Islands

Military ::Faroe Islands

Transnational Issues ::Faroe Islands

    because anticipated offshore hydrocarbon resources have not been realized, earlier Faroese proposals for full independence have been deferred; Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm