Ursula von der Leyen visits Bakkafrost; acknowledges cost of sanctions against Russia

Editorial Staff

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has visited Faroese salmon producing giant Bakkafrost in the Faroe Islands.

The trip on Thursday marked the first time an EU Commission President officially visited the Faroe Islands and is part of a two-day trip with the Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen.

Von der Leyen’s visit aimed to enhance collaboration with the Faroe Islands amid ongoing fish trade with Russia despite the conflict in Ukraine.

“Your support to the brave nation of Ukraine is truly commendable, and we join forces here. I want to thank you for your efforts to align on our sanctions against Russia. I know that it comes at a cost for the Faroe Islands, which makes us more impressed by your clear stance,” said von der Leyen in a speech in the Faroese capital, Tórshavn.

Prior to 2022 and the invasion of Ukraine, Russia was the single most important export destination for the Faroe Islands, accounting for more than 25 per cent of exports by value, with Russian buyers willing to pay a significant premium for Faroese salmon.

During her visit on Thursday, Von der Leyen and Frederiksen met prime minister Aksel V Johannesen and signed an agreement for broader and deeper cooperation between the Faroe Islands and the EU.

“We’re proud to showcase our dedication to sustainable aquaculture practices for such a distinguished guest. President von der Leyen’s visit highlights the critical role that aquaculture plays in ensuring food security, economic growth, and environmental sustainability in the European Union and beyond,” said Regin Jacobsen, CEO of Bakkafrost.

Bakkafrost harvested 52,400 metric tons of salmon in the Faroes island in 2023.

Von der Leyen headed to Greenland on Friday to open a new EU Commission office in the capital, Nuuk.


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