Faroe Islands to vote on constitution paving way for independence from Denmark
Danish territory sets date for 2018 ballot.
The Faroe Islands will hold a referendum on a new constitution in 2018, in preparation for a possible national ballot on separating from Denmark.
The vote on a new governing document agreed upon by both ruling and opposition parties is scheduled for April 25.
“The Faroese constitution will define our identity as a nation and our fundamental rights and duties as a people, including our right to self-determination,” said the Faroe Islands Prime Minister Aksel V. Johannesen in a statement.
“This will be clearly reflected in the requirement that the Faroese people must be consulted by referendum on questions related to further independence from, or further integration with, Denmark. The same will also be the case in relation to membership in supra-national organizations, such as the EU,” said Johannesen.
Denmark won control over the archipelago, home to about 50,000 people, in 1814 and Copenhagen continues to govern such areas as defense, law enforcement, currency and foreign affairs while the Faroese control most domestic policy.
Despite not being a member of the EU, the Faroe Islands is signed up to a free-trade deal with the bloc and a fisheries agreement. The territory has at time been at odds with Brussels over fishing quotas.
Plans for a constitution have been in development for years. “It will also be a safeguard against the abuse of power,” said Johannesen of the planned referendum. “The Faroese constitution will move the ultimate decision-making power from the parliament to the people on such fundamental questions.”
The final text of the document will only be presented to the 33-seat Faroese parliament after it reconvenes for the next annual session on July 29, the government in Tórshavn said. A minimum of six months is required after the text is approved by lawmakers before a referendum can take place.