Denmark and Faroe Islands in constitutional clash

The Danish Prime Minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, says that the draft of the new Faroe Islands’ constitution is incompatible with Denmark’s constitution and cannot co-exist with it.

According to Rasmussen the draft of a new Faroese constitution, which is being debated by the parliament in Torshavn, contains material which contravenes the Danish constitution. He added that in order to keep the new constitution on track the Faroe Islands would need to formally declare their intention to gain full independence from Denmark. If the islands do not, they will simply have to withdraw the draft constitution.

The Ministry of Justice in Copenhagen has come to the conclusion that many clauses in the proposed constitution are incompatible with corresponding clauses in the Danish document. Among the controversial clauses is one that calls for all control over the Faroe Islands be put into Faroese hands.

Lars Lokke Rasmussen has now sent the Faroese premier Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen a pithily-worded letter where he says the Faroe Islanders are standing at the crossroads of two hard choices. The home-rule colony must either withdraw its draft constitution, or break all ties with Denmark. If the Faroe Islands decide they want total independence, Denmark would not stand in their way, the Prime Minister says. He added, by way of further explanation, that the Faroes cannot maintain their status within the Kingdom of Denmark at the same time as creating their own constitution which is practically a declaration of independence, in all but name — and which contradicts the Danish constitution.

In a meeting between the two leaders a week ago, the Faroese Logmadur indicated to Rasmussen that the Faroes Islands are not pushing for immediate independence and will likely withdraw their draft constitution. One opposition party supported Johannesen’s stance, while another accused Denmark of colonial bully tactics, RUV reported.

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