Sunday, February 22, 2009

Not so Faroe Away

Sorry about the pun. Keeping with the international themes I've been alerted to some interesting stuff about the Faroes. It seems among all the economic crisis there is one (fairly) stable financial oasis - the Faroe Islands in the north Sea - midway between Shetland, Norway and Iceland.

The Islands have Home Rule government but are still part of Denmark - granted to them in 1948 despite the electorate voting for independence. The population is a shade below 50,000 (yes, that's 50,000 - about the same as Ynys Môn). Their financial situation is robust enough to have offered Iceland a loan a following the collapse of that country's banks. Accord to some reports it's now among the safest places to keep your money.

One reason for the fairly sound financial situation is that the Islands themselves witnessed a financial catastrophe in the mid 1990s which saw one her banks close and up to 5,000 people (10% of the population) emigrate - mostly to Denmark.

Since then, the Islands have picked themselves up and as part of a continual move for more power and less dependence on Denmark are actually receiving less money annually from Denmark. That's a sign of a proud and industrious people. It would do Wales no end of good to work out a phasing of any 'subsidy' (though what is termed a subsidy is open to discussion) and stand on our own two feet. After all, we have to learn to swim some day and someday, taking off the armbands and being solely responsible for the income we raise and spend would be the best answer for generating an entrepreneurial spirit in Wales - better than any government agency, 'one stop shops' or grants.

I'm also informed that the Islands were also recently voted the most appealing in the world by the National Geographic.

In any case, if you'd like to know more about this great little country, speaking their own language (less than 10% the number of Welsh speakers) and with a soccer team even less successful than Wales, why not tune into the newly launched weekly podcast. Some interesting things on #4 about the history and political situation there.

1 comment:

Jon Morgan said...

Welsh speakers at about 18% in the 1990's, 25% now and up to 35% in under 25yr olds - need to re-check your facts.