The Right to National Self-Determination: The Faroe Islands and Greenland

By Sjúrður Skaale | Go to book overview

1O - The Danish Realm and
Developments in the EU

Bogi Eliasen

Denmark, like the rest of the EU countries, has been in a process of integrating its defence, currency, judiciary and citizenship into the EU.

Although the Danish people voted “No”, there is a strong political will to transfer these four fields of responsibility to the EU, but this will only happen through a referendum. As it is, Denmark has these areas as derogations in its relations with the EU. Currently, the areas defined as Kingdom Affairs, and the core of sovereignty in the Danish Realm, are: defence, the Supreme Court, citizenship and foreign relations; that is to say, largely the same policy areas.

The Faroes and Greenland are not members of the EU. The Faroes never entered the EU and Greenland withdrew from it. This means that Danish obligations in the EU do not cover The Faroes and Greenland.

Greenland and The Faroes are not part of the Danish EU process. They do not participate in referenda on EU questions and they have their own separate bilateral agreements with the EU.

The last referendum on the single currency was not held in Greenland or The Faroes, because these entities are outside the EU, so technically it was not a referendum concerning The Faroes or Greenland. It would, however, be difficult to deny the obvious functional impact on The Faroes and Greenland had the Danish people voted in favor, which emphasizes the problems of definition in this area.

This situation is, on the other hand, a clear manifestation of Greenland and The Faroes as distinct entities or polities. A state, claiming to be unitary, is comprised of three distinct entities, of which one is a member of the EU, while the other two are not.

Under the present construction, if Denmark is to be fully integrated into the EU1The Faroes and Greenland will be ruled from an institution to which they have democratically decided not to belong.

-205-

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