In brief

Work on Greenland’s Constitution drafting restarts

Text expected to be ready by end of 2021, is perceived as further step on road to independence

La capital de Groenlàndia, Nuuk, i la muntanya de Sermitsiaq.
La capital de Groenlàndia, Nuuk, i la muntanya de Sermitsiaq. Author: David Stanley @ Flickr
After several months of standstill, the commission preparing a draft constitution for Greenland has returned to work. It has done so by announcing that after the summer it seeks to open the constitutional debate to the public. The commission has further said that the task will probably not be completed before the end of 2021.

The establishment of the Constitutional Commission was approved in 2017, but its work has been interrupted on several occasions. The proposed Constitution was expected to be completed by 21 June 2021. This is the date on which Greenland marks self-government, and next year it will coincide with the 300th anniversary of the expedition that brought the beginning of the colonization of the island by Denmark. The commission, however, has warned that it will need more time to complete its work.

Until autumn 2020, the commission wants to fine-tune the text. Then, a citizen information campaign and a participatory public debate will begin, Ineqi Skourup Kielsen, president of the Constitutional Commission, said.

Since 2009, Greenland has the right to declare itself independent of Denmark. The adoption of the Constitution is considered in Greenland as a step forward on the road to independence.

68% of Greenlanders want independence according to a survey, but only 38% would certainly vote in favour if a referendum were held tomorrow. Doubts persist about the country’s economic sustainability or its defence.

Indeed, one of the tasks of the Constitutional Commission is to recommend, or not, whether Greenland should sign a treaty of free association with some other country once independence has been proclaimed. The candidates include Denmark itself, neighbouring Canada or the United States, which have economic and military interests.