Oil and Independence, North Sea, Scotland-Faroe Islands… hvør veit?

The article was published in the Norwegian “Aftenbladet” precisely two years ago… Look at a map: “oil” that we call “naft/neft” (Russian, Hebrew) is at the heart of harsh conflicts, often fights that are enduring… and covered the whole of the 20th century. The Middle-East is obsessed, more exactly the West have made their money out of the exploitation of huge oil and gas reserves in the Fertile Crescent. By the end of WWI, i.e. one hundred years ago, the Ottoman Empire apparently fell and split and got broken down with Anglo, British, American, French and German colonial influences and promises. Subsequently, Iraqi Christians got the promise of a Christian state by 1926. In Iraq as in Lebanon, the Christians wre allowed to participate to the life of the society and the government as the Prime Minister in Iraq still was an Assyrian-Chaldean till the fall of Sadam Hussein.
The Faroe Islands are embattled with a problem of independence form the Kingdom of Denmark. In 2011, a large crisis broke out and led to the draft of some rules conceded y the Danish government. In the end, the Faroese decided to stay in the Danish Realm. The Islands are submitted to internal contradiction, isolation, the development of multi-cultural presence (this was not expected), a natural insular mindedness. Their location could be a plus in many ways. They keep aside from the European Union. This is also what would happen in the event of a positive vote for the independence of Scotland. Is it real? Again, from the North and West Scottish islands and the mainland Highlands, the country is also drawn to “oil ‘pressure'”. Oil could make some cities and islands of the North Sea and Nordic (Norse) countries some sorts of smal if not tiny “Quwait or Qatar” with the parallel political temptations to rule over their and other places, though for a while. The region from Iceland (if not even Greenland), Jan Mayen/Svalbard Islands, Norway, the Faroe Islands and Scotland should be viewed as an area rather similar to our Middle-East with regards to oil potentials and dreams. It does not mean things can move onto independence.

Article from the Aftenbladet (Aug. 20, 2012)

The Faroese nearer independence with oil

An oil discovery can be what is needed to achieve full secession from Denmark.

Rolv Christian Topdahl

Publisert: Oppdatert:

TORSHAVN: A picture of the Faroese painter Edward Fuglø hangs in the Tjóðveldi Republican Party’s premises in the Parliament (Lagtinget). The image depicts the Faroe Islands with a Danish flag hovering over the mountain peaks.

“The picture points out that we Faroese see everything through Danish glasses,” says Høgni Hoydal, leader of Tjóðveldi.

“It’s currently only the money that actually connects us to Denmark. Nonetheless, the Faroese are looking increasingly less through Danish glasses. Today, the only common policies with Denmark are foreign and defence, this is in addition to the Islands receiving about DKK 600 million (approximately USD 99.8 million) in direct annual support from its former colonial masters.

Hoydal also wants to cut ties with Denmark, however, and secession could be easier with oil.

Purely money

“It’s currently only the money that actually connects us to Denmark. All Faroese agree that we should have our own schools and own language. The cultural battle is over. It’s the Danish money that is the obstacle to independence.”

“There’s no doubt that the economic argument against independence ceases to apply if Statoil discovers oil. On the other hand, we don’t want to mix the independence issue together with oil,” he says, stating that the Faroese cannot wait until they are rich before becoming independent.

According to Hoydal, financial transfers from Denmark constitute 4.6 percent of the GDP and 10-12 percent of the public budget; a share that has declined steadily in recent years.

The Faroese that Aftenbladet meets confirm this picture. Many believe it is safe for a small country like the Faroe Islands to have a relationship with Denmark, but many also point out that this argument is weakened if Statoil finds oil.

Horror story

A milestone in the Faroese oil story is that the Faroe Islands got ownership rights to its own seabed in 1992. This is in contrast to the neighbouring Shetland Isles, which Hoydal cites as a horrific story.

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