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L ast 21 June, on Greenland's national day, the country experienced one of its most historic moments. On that date self-government was introduced. Eighteen different countries including all the G8 sent official representatives to partake in the ceremonial and cultural festivities in Greenland's capital, Nuuk. Greenland is a former colony of Denmark with a population of only 56,, which since has enjoyed "home rule" — a form of autonomy with rights and command over many internal matters.
With the introduction of self-government came an explicitly mentioned legal right to independence if the Greenlandic people should wish it. One of the direct consequences of these changes has been the taking over of the complete mineral and oil rights from Denmark.
Greenland took over responsibility this year, which includes executive rights, the right to legislate and overall administrative and financial responsibility. It exclusively decides which companies get permits for exploration and development. This means that Greenlanders now own the resources of the land they live in, which was not the case before.
Other changes include immigration and border control, ship registration and maritime matters, courts and police forces. This will not happen immediately nor all at once, but slowly as the Greenlandic economy grows and as the educational level of the population rises — which has been the trend for 30 years. Every time a new area of competence is taken over from Denmark, Greenland becomes a little bit more independent than before.
Minerals and oil has been an area Greenland has tried to devolve from Denmark for 30 years. It holds the potential key to economic growth, and creates numerous jobs, which could take some of the pressure off our high reliance on the fishing industry. It may also be able to supply enough revenue for the Greenlandic public budget to be able to one day replace the annual Danish block grant subsidies 3.