Greenland Self-Government Act – Frontline

(Law No. 473 of June 12, 2009)

“We Margrethe the Second, by the grace of God Queen of Denmark, hereby announce that:

The Danish Parliament has passed the following law, which We have ratified with Our assent:

Recognizing that the people of Greenland are a people within the meaning of international law with the right to self-determination, the law is based on the desire to foster equality and mutual respect in the partnership between Denmark and Greenland. Accordingly, the law is based on an agreement between Naalakkersuisut [Greenland Government] and the Danish government as equal partners.

1. The Greenlandic self-governing authorities exercise legislative and executive power in the areas of competence listed. The courts set up by the self-governing authorities exercise judicial power in Greenland in all areas of jurisdiction. Consequently, the legislative power belongs to Inatsisartut [Greenland Parliament]the executive power with Naalakkersuisut, and the judicial power with the courts….

4. Naalakkersuisut and the Government may agree that areas of responsibility which relate exclusively to Greenlandic affairs and which are not mentioned in the Schedule may be assumed by the Home Rule Authorities of Greenland….

Foreign Affairs (Chapter 4)

11. (1) Naalakkersuisut may act in international affairs in accordance with this chapter and in agreements with the government.

(2) The Government and Naalakkersuisut shall cooperate in international affairs in accordance with this Chapter with a view to safeguarding the interests of Greenland as well as the general interests of the Kingdom of Denmark.

(3) The powers granted to the Naalakkersuisut in this chapter do not limit the responsibility and constitutional powers of the Danish authorities in international affairs, as matters of foreign policy and security are matters of the Kingdom.

12. (1) Naalakkersuisut may, on behalf of the Kingdom, negotiate and conclude agreements under international law with foreign states and international organisations, including administrative agreements which relate exclusively to Greenland and relate entirely to the areas of responsibility listed.

(2) Agreements under international law which relate exclusively to Greenland and the Faroe Islands and relate entirely to the listed areas of responsibility may, subject to a decision by the Naalakkersuisut as well as the Landsstyre of the Faroe Islands [Government of the Faroes]be negotiated and concluded jointly on behalf of the Kingdom by Naalakkersuisut and the Landsstyre of the Faroe Islands.

(3) Agreements under international law concluded under paragraph (1) or paragraph (2) may be terminated under the same provisions.

(4) Agreements under international law affecting defense and security policy as well as agreements under international law which are to apply in Denmark or which are negotiated within an international organization of which the Kingdom of Denmark is a member are negotiated and concluded according to the rules set out in Article 13.

(5) Naalakkersuisut will inform the Government of the negotiations contemplated before they are initiated and of the progress of the negotiations before the agreements under international law are entered into or terminated. A more detailed framework for cooperation under this provision will be determined after negotiation between Naalakkersuisut and the government.

(6) The international law agreements referred to in paragraph (1) are concluded on behalf of the Kingdom by Naalakkersuisut under the designation of:

a) The Kingdom of Denmark with respect to Greenland when the agreement appears to be concluded between States.

b) Naalakkersuisut when the agreement appears to be concluded between governments or between administrative authorities. In such case, reference is made in the preamble to the agreement to this Act as specified under subsection (8).

(7) Agreements under international law under paragraph (2) are concluded jointly on behalf of the Kingdom by Naalakkersuisut and the Landsstyre of the Faroe Islands under the designation of the Kingdom of Denmark in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland.

(8) More detailed rules for the use of the designations referred to in paragraphs (6) and (7) as well as other similar designations may be determined in accordance with paragraph (5).

13. (1) The Government shall inform Naalakkersuisut prior to the opening of negotiations concerning agreements under international law which are of particular importance for Greenland. Subject to a request by Naalakkersuisut, an agreement may be entered into with the relevant Minister, who establishes detailed rules for cooperation under this provision, including a detailed determination of the criteria on which agreements are deemed to have a particular importance for Greenland.

(2) In matters which exclusively concern Greenland, the Government may authorize Naalakkersuisut to conduct negotiations, with the co-operation of the Foreign Service.

(3) Agreements in which Denmark and Greenland have jointly participated in the negotiations shall be signed by the government, to the greatest extent possible, jointly with Naalakkersuisut.

(4) Agreements under international law which are of particular importance for Greenland must, before being concluded or denounced, be submitted to the Naalakkersuisut for observations. If the government deems it necessary to enter into the agreement without the consent of Naalakkersuisut, this shall, to the greatest extent possible, have no effect for Greenland.

14. Where international organizations allow entities other than states and associations of states to become members on their own behalf, the government may, subject to Naalakkersuisut’s request, decide to submit or support such a request from Greenland when compatible with constitutional status. from Greenland.

15. As requested by Naalakkersuisut, representatives of Naalakkersuisut will be appointed to the diplomatic missions of the Kingdom of Denmark to look after the interests of Greenland in areas of responsibility fully assumed by the self-governing authorities. The government may decide that the expenses for this purpose shall be borne by Naalakkersuisut.

Dispute Resolution (Chapter 6)

19. (1) In case of doubt between the Home Rule Authorities of Greenland and the Central Authorities of the Kingdom concerning the responsibility of the Home Rule Authorities vis-à-vis the Central Authorities, the Government or Naalakkersuisut may decide to put the question before a council composed two members appointed by the Danish government, two members appointed by Naalakkersuisut and three Supreme Court judges appointed by its president, one of whom is appointed president.

(2) If the four members appointed by the Government and Naalakkersuisut reach an agreement, the matter is considered settled. If these four cannot reach an agreement, the matter will be decided by the three justices of the Supreme Court.

(3) The council may decide to suspend the promulgation or the decision which has been submitted to the council until the decision of the council is taken.

20. Greenlandic is the official language of Greenland.

Greenland’s access to independence

21. (1) The decision concerning the independence of Greenland shall be taken by the people of Greenland.

(2) If a decision is taken under paragraph (1), negotiations shall be entered into between the Government and Naalakkersuisut with a view to establishing the independence of Greenland.

(3) An agreement between Naalakkersuisut and the government regarding the introduction of independence for Greenland must be included with the consent of Inatsisartut and must be approved by referendum in Greenland. The agreement will also be concluded with the consent of the Folketing.

(4) The independence of Greenland implies that Greenland assumes sovereignty over the territory of Greenland.

Greenland receives an annual grant of £400 million from Denmark. Its prime minister, Kim Kielsen, ticked off US President Donald Trump (The HinduAugust 22).

Tags : home ruleprime minister
Teresa R. Cabrera

The author Teresa R. Cabrera