What is Greenland’s relationship with the EU?

Greenland and the Faroe Islands are parts of the Danish Realm. Due to their exceptional position nationally, culturally and geographically these parts of the Realm have an extensive type of self-government.

Denmark ’s membership of the EC took effect on 1 January 1973.

Faroe Home Rule was established in 1948, so when Denmark joined the EC the Faroese Government decided that the Faroe Islands did not want to be a member of the EC. The Faroe Islands have concluded a fisheries agreement and a trade agreement with the EU. However, the Faroe Islands are not a member of the EU. 

Home Rule for Greenland was first introduced in 1979. Hence Greenland became a member of the EC when Denmark joined the Community. After the introduction of Home Rule, Greenland held a consultative referendum in 1982 on membership of the EC, after which Greenland chose to leave the EC with effect from 1 February 1985. 

On its withdrawal from the Community, Greenland obtained special fisheries arrangements with the EU and is included as one of the so-called Overseas Countries and Territories enjoying association arrangements (special relations) with the EU

Greenland’s referendum on membership of the EC

In the referendum in Greenland on 23 February 1982 voter participation was 74.9%. To the question whether Greenland should stay in the EC, 47% voted yes and 53% voted no.