IT is a country whose population has just passed the 50,000 mark – around the size of Inverness in Scotland – but the Faroe Islands has just published an upbeat budget, thanks in large part to its growing fish farming industry.
The Finance Minister Kristina Háfoss, while stressing the importance of responsible spending , has also pledged to put more money into fishery and aquaculture research as part of her fiscal strategy. The Faroese Government expects to produce a surplus of 330-million Danish kroners next year .
She said that with an unemployment rate of only two percent and a growth of 7-8 percent, the Faroese economy was currently performing exceptionally well. Sea farming, pelagic fishing and construction industries had made the most progress and the population had passed the 50,000 mark at the beginning of April thanks to fewer people emigrating and more expats returning.
Minister Háfoss declared: “We are experiencing historically prosperous times. This sets out particular demands for a sensible fiscal and economical policy. History shows that the seasons are also liable to change economically; spring and summer are followed by autumn and winter.”
The Prime Minister Aksel V. Johannesen said: “Reaching 50,000 is a true milestone in Faroese history. Just a few years ago the notion of “Exit Faroes” stole the headlines and set the agenda with the message that the Faroe Islands were losing the younger generation to the outside world. Young people pursuing an education overseas were not returning to the Faroe Islands.
“But Exit Faroes has now become Enter Faroes. Many who have studied and lived abroad are returning. Foreigners also move to the Faroe Islands to live and work. More and more children are born in the Faroe Islands and Faroese women continue to have more children on average than in most other Western European countries.”