The Faroe Islands: Possible Lessons for Scotland in a New Post-Brexit Devolution Settlement

Forthcoming in the European Law Review

16 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2017 Last revised: 5 Dec 2018

Date Written: February 1, 2017


In the 2016 EU referendum, the Scottish people voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU. In a subsequent paper – Scotland’s Place in Europe – the Scottish Government considered options for retaining key benefits of EU membership even if the rest of the UK left the EU and the single market. The paper recognises that a range of differentiated arrangements within the EU and single market framework already exist and, inter alia, uses the Kingdom of Denmark (consisting of Denmark, The Faroe Islands – hereafter the ‘Faroes’– and Greenland) as an example of a unitary state where parts of the country (Denmark) are in the EU, while others (the Faroes and Greenland) are not. The ‘reverse Greenland’ option, whereby Scotland would take on the UK’s existing EU membership while the rest of the UK would leave the EU, has already received some scholarly attention. This article argues that more interesting inferences may be drawn from the experience of the Faroes which, though outside the EU, have established extensive relations with it. The article suggests that there are no international or EU law obstacles for Scotland to follow a similar path, and unilaterally negotiate a special relationship with the EU after Brexit.

Keywords: Scotland, Devolution, Brexit, International personallity

Suggested Citation

Hartmann, Jacques, The Faroe Islands: Possible Lessons for Scotland in a New Post-Brexit Devolution Settlement (February 1, 2017). Forthcoming in the European Law Review, Available at SSRN:

Jacques Hartmann (Contact Author)

University of Dundee ( email )

Dundee, Scotland DD1 4HN
United Kingdom

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