Dr. Christian Rebhan
Prof. Dr. Bernd Henningsen / Prof. Dr. Baldur Thorhallsson
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin / Háskóli Íslands
The thesis analyses the rejection of EU membership in the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Due to their Home Rule status, the Faroe Islands were able to remain outside the EC in 1974, although they were a part of Denmark, an EU member state. Greenland joined the EC against its will together with Denmark in 1973 and left it again in 1985 after having achieved Home Rule as well. The thesis uncovers the driving factors for the seven most important European policy choices of the Faroese and Greenlandic Home Rule governments since 1959. It applies the theory of liberal intergovernmentalism, which claims that economic interests are primary to the integration decisions of national governments and that political interests only matter when economic interests are weak, indeterminate or diffuse. The research method is a qualitative document analysis of primary and secondary sources.
The thesis concludes that liberal intergovernmentalism only explains Faroese European policy in the 1960s and 1970s, but fails to account for Faroese European policy since the 1990s and all European policy choices in Greenland. Other than expected by the theory, political interests are identified as the driving factor for five of the seven most important European policy choices. Rejection of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy is found to be the main explanation for North Atlantic Euroscepticism. The thesis shows that this rejection is rather based on the political concern in the Faroe Islands and Greenland to transfer national sovereignty over their single most important resource to the EU than on economic concerns about their fisheries sectors.
The results of the thesis do not indicate great European policy changes in the Faroe Islands and Greenland in the short run. But there is potential for change, which is rooted in the long-term untenability of the Danish Realm being a member of the EU, while two self-governing regions within the Realm are not. Independence from Denmark and a far-reaching reform of the CFP could facilitate a new Faroese and Greenlandic European policy.
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