Norway-Shetland ties discussions tied / News / The Foreigner

Norway-Shetland ties discussions tied. Restoring the Shetland Islands to Norwegian sovereignty is still a moot point. UK politicians find it unlikely, Norwegian ones urge positivity. The issue has come to the fore at a time of Scotland’s upcoming national independence referendum. Furthering links with Norwegian industry are also discussed should there be a ‘yes’ vote. Scottish National Party (SNP) MP Angus Robertson recently commented to The Foreigner that “In the future, an independent Scotland would look to continue to cooperate in areas where there is shared expertise and a shared interest such as the energy and aquaculture sectors.” Urges serious consideration

scotland, shetlands, norway, travel



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Norway-Shetland ties discussions tied

Published on Tuesday, 6th May, 2014 at 14:33 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 18th September 2014 at 23:28.

Restoring the Shetland Islands to Norwegian sovereignty is still a moot point. UK politicians find it unlikely, Norwegian ones urge positivity.

Shetland (boxed), with surrounding lands
The Shetland Islands are located some 130 miles north of the Scottish mainland and 217 miles west of Bergen.Shetland (boxed), with surrounding lands
Photo: Hogweard/Wikimedia Commons


The issue has come to the fore at a time of Scotland’s upcoming national independence referendum. Furthering links with Norwegian industry are also discussed should there be a ‘yes’ vote.

Scottish National Party (SNP) MP Angus Robertson recently commented to The Foreigner that “In the future, an independent Scotland would look to continue to cooperate in areas where there is shared expertise and a shared interest such as the energy and aquaculture sectors.”

Urges serious consideration

A vote in favour of Scottish independence will also result in Scotland applying to join the Nordic Council.

Kristian Norheim (2007)
Kristian Norheim (2007)
Wikimedia Commons/Progress Party
“This Government intends that Scotland will also seek a closer relationship with the Nordic Council of Ministers,” he added, citing key mutual interests such as the Arctic and the High North.

Norway’s state-owned NRK reported last week that Shetland Island inhabitants are in turn keen to gain independence from Scotland, becoming part of Norway once again.

The Picts, a tribal confederation of Celtic peoples, inhabited the Shetlands before the Norse invasion in the 9th Century A.D. They either became absorbed into, or displaced by waves of immigration from Scandinavia.

Norway controlled Shetland (external link) for around 600 years until King Christian I of Denmark and Norway mortgaged Shetland to the Scottish crown in 1469. This was to raise part of the dowry for the marriage of his daughter Margaret to King James III of Scotland.

“Oh God, yes! Things will be much better under Norway than under the Scots,” Alister Ingster, part of the Shetland Islands independence campaign, told the Norwegian broadcaster.

Kristian Norheim, the Norwegian Progress Party’s (FrP) foreign policy spokesperson and deputy leader of parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, thinks this wish should be noted.

“We must take Shetlanders saying that they feel a stronger connection to Norway than to Edinburgh seriously.”

Undecided

Tavish Hamilton Scott MSP
Tavish Hamilton Scott MSP
From Mr Scott MSP's Facebook page
It is currently unconfirmed that Shetland Islands residents do indeed wish independence from Scotland, however.

“There is little desire in Shetland for local independence or Scottish independence,” Tavish Hamilton Scott MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament) told The Foreigner in an email.

What connection do the Islands’ inhabitants feel they have to Norway?

“There are current economic links between Shetland and Norway that are extremely valuable including the salmon farming industry, fishing where the Shetland Catch pelagic processing business in Lerwick is part owned by Norwegian companies and oil and gas,” he said.

“There are of course many historical ties through the decades and centuries that are celebrated by Shetland’s ‘Up Helly Aa’ fire festival season through the winter months,” continued Mr Scott MSP.

Opportunities                                                                        

At the same time, the Shetland Islands Council’s (SIC) Malcom Bell mentions they are looking to restore the old Lerwick-Bergen ferry connection. It was closed some six years ago, deemed commercially non-viable.

“Our plan is to start with a couple of sailings weekly in the summer and then expand routes later. Negotiations are still ongoing and we’re very keen to get this in place because we believe the link to Norway's important for Shetland,” Mr Bell informed NRK.

Angus Robertson MP
Angus Robertson MP
Wikimedia Commons
Both Messrs. Angus Roberston MP and Tavish Scott MSP have told The Foreigner they support renewed sea links.

“The Scottish Government certainly wish to see the expansion of direct ferry connections from Scotland to Europe and would be keen to engage with any operator proposing a new ferry service between Scotland and Norway,” Mr Robertson answered. “ We are willing to work closely with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, VisitScotland and any ports, ferry operators and other partners that could potentially be involved in new commercially viable ferry services to Norway.”

“A direct sea link between Shetland and Norway would be welcomed for both commercial and tourism reasons. This has operated at various points in the past with some success,” concluded Mr Scott.




Published on Tuesday, 6th May, 2014 at 14:33 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 18th September 2014 at 23:28.

This post has the following tags: scotland, shetlands, norway, travel.





  
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