Greenland has voted ‘yes’ vote for autonomy

November 26 2008

75 percent voted ‘yes’ while 23 percent had voted’ no ‘in the referendum on autonomy.


Greenland may be getting an early election

Greenland’s coalition government appears to be falling apart as it faces a growing number of problems that it doesn’t seem to be able to address. Sermitsiaq reports that a referendum on extending the home rule government’s autonomy from Denmark today, Tuesday 25 November could result in an early election call. Greenland Premier Hans Enoksen has the power to call for an early election if he feels it will be to his side’s advantage.

Greenland’s Audit Commission recently criticised four government ministers over their mishandling of public affairs. One minister, Aqqalu Abelsen, has already been forced out of the government as its Family and Health Minister. By calling for a snap election, Enoksen could help the other four ministers in his party avoid the same fate.

Self-rule will ultimately be the platform that Enoksen uses in his campaign if he decides to call for a quick election, which could happen as soon as 28 November, the last working day of Parliament. A public vote in favour of self-rule would likely have a knock-on effect helping the premier’s Siumut Party retain what power it has, suggests the Sermitsiaq newspaper.

The Siumut Party played a major role in negotiating the self-rule agreement with Denmark earlier this year. The Siumut and Atassut parties have 17 members in Parliament between them, as compared to the 14 members of the opposition. It could be a risky move to call a snap election, but now could be the ideal moment to solidify Enoken’s position.


Greenlanders vote on more autonomy from Denmark

November 25, 2008

People in Greenland were voting Tuesday in a referendum on whether to establish a self-rule government, moving the Arctic glacial island closer to independence from Denmark.

About 56,000 people — most of whom are Inuit — live in Greenland, which is currently a Danish province. More than half of Greenlanders are eligible to vote in Tuesday’s referendum.

Greenlanders are asked to vote on whether they support a proposal that would establish Greenland’s right within Denmark’s constitution to be recognized as a nation, as well as give Greenlanders control over oil, gas and mineral resources on the island.

If the majority of Greenlanders vote Yes to the proposal, it would also establish a separate police force, courts of law and coast guard. As well, it would make Kalaallisut, or Greenlandic Inuit, the island’s official language.

“I think it’s so exciting,” Aaju Peter, an Iqaluit resident who came to Nunavut from Greenland, told CBC News on Monday.

“When you’re in your own home, you should be able to say where the furniture goes, and not have somebody else dictate where the furniture goes.”

Greenland became a Danish colony in 1775 and remained that way until 1953, when Denmark revised its constitution and made the island a province.

Under the 1979 Home Rule Act, Greenland got its own parliament and government, and self-determination in health care, schools and social services.

Foreign and military affairs are controlled by Copenhagen, and that would continue under the proposal.

The proposal being voted on Tuesday has been worked out between Greenland and Denmark over the past few years.

We want to take care of ourselves’

Aqqaluk Lynge, president of Greenland’s Inuit Circumpolar Council, said Denmark’s old colonial system taught Greenlanders that “‘We would take care of you.'”

“We don’t want that,” Lynge said. “We want to take care of ourselves.”

The outcome of the referendum is likely to be respected by the Danish government, as it supports greater autonomy for Greenland and a phase-out of an annual Danish subsidy of about 3.5 billion kroner, or about $588 million US, which accounts for two-thirds of the island’s economy.

But should the majority of Greenlanders vote Yes in Tuesday’s referendum, Denmark would not immediately withdraw that funding. Instead, the proposal calls for a gradual phasing out of the subsidy when the island earns

Steen Ulrik Johannessen, a journalist with the Danish News Agency in Copenhagen, told CBC News that the referendum proposes the transfer of responsibility — and the phasing out of the subsidy — to be done gradually.

“As soon as the oil and minerals give more than $1 billion a year, Denmark would slowly withdraw economically,” he said. “This would pave the road to independence.”

The proposal would also set new rules on how to split potential oil revenue between Greenland and Denmark. Greenlanders hope to find oil reserves off the western and southern coast of the glacial island, although exploration so far has been unsuccessful.

But while some on the island have said Greenland may not yet be ready for more independence, polls indicate most Greenlanders will likely vote Yes on Tuesday.

“To have an identity is so important that I think that a vast majority of Greenlanders will say Yes,” Lynge said.


Greenland has voted ‘yes’ vote for autonomy and now we will have to wait and see what Denmark has to say about it all.

Published in: on November 26, 2008 at 4:32 am  Comments Off on Greenland has voted ‘yes’ vote for autonomy  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

European Union joins the lineup, staking claim to Arctic resources

November 20 2008

BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Union gave notice Thursday it is keen to have a share of the much sought after oil, gas, mineral and fish resources in the Arctic region as the polar ice cap melts.

The move is likely to irk other Arctic players, including Canada, Russia, Norway and the United States all of which have issued territorial claims in the polar region.

The European Commission said the 27-member bloc, which has three member states in the polar region – Denmark, Finland and Sweden – should get involved in the current rush in the Arctic, notably in offshore oil and gas exploitation.

Denmark controls the semiautonomous territory of Greenland.

The announcement was part of a first outline of priorities the EU is seeking in the Arctic, an area where the bloc is now planting its own flag of sorts as a key economic and security interest for Europe.

“The Arctic is a unique and vulnerable region located in the immediate vicinity of Europe,” said EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero Waldner.

“Its evolution will have significant repercussions on the life of Europeans for generations to come.”

She added that the quickly changing Arctic posed new challenges and opportunities for EU states and as such the bloc needed to formulate a policy for the region.

Interest in the Arctic is intensifying because global warming is shrinking the polar ice and that could someday open up resource development and new shipping lanes.

Ferrero Waldner stressed however, that any EU moves in the region would not endanger the local environment or local native populations.

“The EU is ready … to keep the right balance between the priority goal of preserving the environment and the need for sustainable use of natural resources,” she said.

Ferrero-Waldner said recent U.S. surveys “estimate that up to 25 per cent of the planet’s undiscovered oil and gas could be located” in the region.

A share of that would help the EU bloc ease its heavy reliance on Russian oil and gas imports.

European involvement is sure to add weight to Arctic claims filed by Denmark.

Danish officials are gathering scientific evidence to show that the Lomonosov Ridge, a 2,000-kilometre underwater mountain range, is attached to Greenland, making it a geological extension of the island.

Canada and Denmark also both claim Hans Island, a 1.3-square-kilometre rock at the entrance to the Northwest Passage. The island is wedged between Canada’s Ellesmere Island and Danish-ruled Greenland, and has been a subject of bitter exchanges between the two NATO allies.

The new EU strategy, which will be debated by EU governments in coming months, foresees a stepped up role by EU officials in the eight-country Arctic Council as well as part of the United Nations’ Law of the Sea Convention which is trying to settle claims over the Arctic.

Ferrero-Waldner said that acting through these means, the EU as a whole will be able to have a greater say over the Arctic’s future.

Countries involved in the claims recommitted themselves last May to settle competing claims under the UN convention. A UN panel is supposed to decide on control of the Arctic by 2020.

However, Russia and Canada have already moved to flex their muscle over their claims by holding military exercises in the Arctic.

Russia last year sent two small submarines to plant a tiny national flag under the North Pole, while Ottawa has announced plans to build a new army training centre and a deep-water port in contested Arctic waters.


All after oil, gas, mineral and fish .  At the expence of the enviroment I might add.

The masters of destruction.