Increased co-operation in the field of trade, health and education are among the proposals of a new report on how to strengthen the relations between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development Cooperation of Iceland, expects that the proposals will lay the ground for new and exciting opportunities for these neighbouring nations.
Earlier this year, Foreign Minister Thórdarson appointed a working group to assess bilateral relations between Iceland and the Faroe Islands and make proposals for practical measures or projects to further enhance the relationship between the two countries. The results are presented in the newly published report Relations between Iceland and the Faroe Islands – Proposals for the Future.
"Icelanders and Faroese are close neighbours, we have a common ancestry and, in many ways, shared history. Our interests as small island nations often go hand in hand and collaboration on safeguarding mutual interests will benefit both, " says Foreign Minister Thórdarson in his preface to the report.
There is a wide range of co-operation between Iceland and the Faroe Islands, both formal and informal, as well as at a Nordic or West-Nordic level. However, bilateral relations and co-operation between these neighbouring nations can be expanded upon in various fields e.g. with regard to economics, culture and politics. The group focuses on those areas where bilateral co-operation is currently limited, but also where action is needed to strengthen existing collaboration. Key proposals of the report focus on the following areas:
•Formal cooperation with the Faroese-Icelandic Chamber of Commerce (FæÍs)
•Interconnection of transport routes for fresh goods
•The blue economy
•Increased bilateral trade cooperation
•Increased healthcare collaboration
•Science and Education Fund
•Educational materials for elementary schools
•Collaboration between creative arts centres.
"Our goal is to implement these proposals in the coming years and thus strengthen the foundations of the nations' unity and at the same time create the conditions for new and exciting opportunities," says Guðlaugur Þór.
The working group of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation consisted of Júlíus Hafstein, who was also its chairman, Elin Svarrer Wang, Gísli Gíslason and Sif Gunnarsdóttir.
- Preface by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation and the Introduction to the report Relations between Iceland and the Faroe Islands – Proposals for the Future.
- Relations between Iceland and the Faroe Islands – Proposals for the Future. (Full text, only in Icelandic)