Today, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, met with the Greenlandic Minister of Education, Culture, Church and Foreign Affairs, Vivian Motzfeldt to discuss the relations between the EU and Greenland, in light of the next long-term budget of the European Union. Under the proposed Multi-annual Financial Framework, a new Overseas Association Decision will describe the Union's relations with the Overseas Countries and Territories, including Greenland.
Minister Motzfeldt stated that “Greenland highly values the special partnership with the EU. It is a political priority for the new Government to further our relations. We look forward to working together to confirm and strengthen this important partnership.”
Commissioner Mimica, underlined that: "the European Union remains fully committed to continuing and further enhancing our close partnership with Greenland, as defined by our long-lasting historical, political and cultural ties. Our relations remain very strong. Greenland is our key partner in the Arctic, and supporting its sustainable development remains a high priority, as demonstrated through the increase in funding that we recently proposed for the period 2021-2027."
The Commissioner thus reaffirmed the importance of the EU’s relationship with Greenland and Denmark and underlined that the proposed Overseas Association Decision will ensure that the special partnership with Greenland can continue to deepen under the same conditions as under the current framework. Indeed the Commission expects that the proposed Decision will enable smoother implementation and cooperation as well as an increased financial allocation for Greenland from EUR 217.8 million to EUR 225 million for the period 2021-2027.
Greenland has been associated to the European Union as an Overseas Country and Territory since its withdrawal from the Community in 1985 after obtaining Home rule. There are 25 Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) associated with the European Union via constitutional links to four of its Member States (Denmark, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom). Council Decision EU/2013/755 – the Overseas Association Decision (OAD) – covers relations between the OCTs, the Member States to which they are linked and the European Union. It outlines the special relationship that OCTs have with the EU as part of the ‘EU family’ and the specific legal framework which applies to them.
Although the OAD applies to all OCTs including Greenland, as regards financing and the relations between the Union, Greenland and Denmark, a separate and additional Decision, (Council Decision EU/2014/137 – the Greenland Decision) outlines the cooperation and financing allocation, which comes from the EU budget. Furthermore, Greenland's relations with the European Union are covered by the Greenland Treaty, the Fisheries Partnership Agreement and the 2015 Joint Declaration.
The new Overseas Association Decision is to apply as of 1 January 2021. While the new OAD will no longer be complemented by a separate Greenland instrument, the specificities of the relations with Greenland will remain and are highlighted throughout the text of the Commission‘s OAD proposal.