EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki is reported from Norway to be back on the sanctions track after she declared that talks with Iceland and the Faroe islands have now virtually been exhausted. The Norwegian fishing industry appears to be getting quite impatient However, there are conflicting reports from the region.
Earlier, Ms Damanaki was in the Faroe Islands where she met with the Prime Minster Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen to discuss bilateral relations and in particular the current dispute over mackerel. She flew in at the invitation of Fisheries Minister Jacob Vestergaard for bilateral discussions on this issue.
Prime Minister Johannesen used the opportunity to underline his disappointment over the EU’s implementation of coercive economic measures against the Faroes on matters that can only be resolved through negotiations.
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processes recently initiated against the EU under UNCLOS and the WTO due to the EU’s actions, if these measures were withdrawn by the EU.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 the Prime Minister, not only help progress the on-going negotiations on mackerel but could also herald a new beginning in Faroese-EU relations.
The Prime Minister shared Commissioner Damanaki’s view 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, given the positive outlook for continued productive fisheries for the industry in all mackerel coastal states.
The Prime Minster and Commissioner Damanaki both highlighted the important and long-standing relations between the Faroe Islands and the EU, as closest neighbours. They agreed that there is now both a need and an excellent opportunity to get these relations back on track and to strengthen cooperation in many areas of mutual interest for the future.
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