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POLITICS

Faroe Islands renew fishing quota deal with Russia

Denmark's autonomous Faroe Islands have renewed a fishing quota deal with Russia for one year despite Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, a local minister said on Saturday.

Faroe Islands
Photo by Annie Spratt / Unsplash

“The Faroe Islands are totally right to extend their existing fishing agreement with Russia,” the North Atlantic archipelago’s minister of fisheries Arni Skaale told the Jyllands-Posten daily.

He added however that the islands, which are not part of the European Union, condemned “all form of war – also the war in Ukraine” after Russian forces invaded in February.

The agreement has been in place since 1977 and is renewable each year.

It lays out catch quotas for cod, haddock, whiting and herring in the Barents Sea north of Russia for Faroese fishermen, and in waters off the coast of the Faroe Islands for Russian fishing boats.

Dependent on fishing

The autonomous territory is highly dependent on fishing for its income, and the fisheries ministry says the deal with Russia covers 5 percent of its GDP.

Russia has become a key commercial partner of the Faroe Islands since they and neighbouring Iceland fell out with the European Union – including Denmark – between 2010 and 2014 over mackerel and herring quotas.

An EU embargo on Faroese fish harmed the economy of the territory, which then turned to other markets.

“Today we only have free trade agreements with six countries – and not with the European Union,” said Skaale.

“If we cut ourselves off from one of these markets, it could be problematic for the whole of the next generation.”

Alternatives to be considered

Authorities on the archipelago have however said they would think about alternatives to the deal with Russia after local parliamentary polls on December 8.

Last month, neighbouring Norway – a NATO member – and Russia also agreed on catch quotas in the Barents Sea for next year.

Home to some 54,000 inhabitants, the Faroe Islands have been largely autonomous from Denmark since 1948.

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POLITICS

Denmark’s ‘election tests’ moved ‘thousands’ of votes in 2022 polls

So-called ‘election tests’ taken online by voters in Denmark can move as many as 100,000 votes between parties, researchers have concluded.

Denmark’s 'election tests' moved 'thousands' of votes in 2022 polls

Ahead of the 2022 election, some 110,000 voters in Denmark changed their mind about who to vote after taking a political questionnaire on a media website, researchers at Aarhus University have concluded.

Many Danish media offer the tests, valgtest in Danish, on their websites prior to elections. In the tests, users are presented with a set of multiple-choice questions about their political views.

The tests then calculate a percentage rating for how closely aligned the voter is with the various parties, based on statements given by the parties themselves.

An example of the test on DR’s website for the 2022 general election can be found here.

The 110,000 figure for voters who changed their minds after taking the tests in 2022 was reported by newspaper Jyllands-Posten based on research led by professor Mathias Wessel Tromborg of Aarhus University’s Political Science department.

“This obviously comes with some conditions, as things always do when you’re talking to researchers like us. But yes, that’s our best bet,” Tromborg told the newspaper.

The study shows that for every 100 voters who get a different party in the test to the one they had originally been leaning towards, 16 will change their vote to the suggested party.

The tests are used by a large proportion of voters, elections researcher Kasper Møller Hansen of the University of Copenhagen said.

According to Hansen’s research, some 62 percent of voters took one of the tests in 2022 and 45 percent of these said they voted for the party which was recommended to them.

“Election tests are without comparison the thing voters use the most in an election campaign. They can see a poster or attend a debate, but election tests triumph most of all. They have simply become a definitive part of how we navigate politics,” he said.

The Aarhus University study also shows that around 175,000 votes in 2022 were affected by the tests. That includes voters whose doubt over who to vote for increased after taking the test, as well as those who specifically switched party.

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