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The Land of Maybe: Faroese Foreign Policy Decision-Making at the European Crossroads


Hugo Lamhauge Hansen

Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent

Upprunaliga: 1.1.2010 - 31.12.2011
Endaliga: 1.1.2010-15.4.2018

Stuðul úr Granskingargrunninum:
443.440 kr.

Original: Preliminarily entitled ‘The Land of Maybe : Faroese Foreign Policy Decision-Making at the European Crossroads’, this proposal suggests a study on the factors which shape Faroese decision-making regarding future relations with Europe. Specifically, the central question asks: what factors determine Faroese perception, evaluation and consequent foreign policy pursuit of membership (either partial or full) of both EFTA and the EU as means of reaching their goal of improved access to the EEA?

In attempting to address this question, the first objective of the PhD thesis will necessarily be to challenge the dominant perception that Faroese foreign policy is shackled by the lack of recognition in international law. Through an examination of economic, legal, political and identity issues over the last century, including the Home Rule period and the last decade, the thesis will demonstrate an undisputable link between Faroese competency transfers from Denmark and gradual foreign policy maturity, or what Bretherton and Vogler refer to as actorness.

Having chartered the advances of Faroese foreign policy competency and confidence, through an actorness assessment evaluating the indicators of opportunity, capability and presence, the thesis will then examine the possible roads into Europe. Importantly, the proposal suggests going beyond previous analysis, and to consider both the EU and EFTA to provide equally credible routes forward from the crossroads, and the thesis will consequently devote equal attention to the varieties of options which the two main routes offer. Recognising the nature of the options, the analysis will accordingly take the shape of a cost-benefit analysis on the basis on the four abovementioned indicators, namely economic, law, politics and identity, and will also consult policy notables in Tórshavn, Copenhagen, Brussels and Geneva.

Turning to evaluating what factors are indeed influencing Faroese foreign policy decision-making, the thesis will correspondingly conclude by joining findings from the material on Faroese affairs and European integrative opportunities on the one hand, with interviews and questionnaires conducted primarily with Faroese decision-makers from the Government and Law Thing, as well as experts and stakeholders in the field. The project, in sum, will therefore provide an understanding of the dynamics at play in shaping the Faroese perceptions of the EU and EFTA, and address the consequent Faroese foreign policy decision-making. Widening the horizon by better balancing the importance of the structures and actors involved in Faroese foreign affairs, and recognising the inherently slow and incoherent nature of progress in the land of maybe, the thesis will provide a guide to the complexity of factors at work.


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