The Legal Frameworks

With the introduction of the Self-Rule on June 21. 2009, the Greenland Home Rule Act was replaced by the now in force Act on Greenland Self-Government. The competence of foreign affairs by the Self-Rule Government is regulated by the Constitutional Act of Denmark, the Act on Greenland Self Government, and practice, in the mentioned order.

The Constitution
According to The Constitution the central authorities have the competence to enter into human rights agreements (treaty jurisdiction) and the responsibility for conducting foreign policy. Foreign Policy is constitutionally conducted, therefore, by the Danish Government, under the responsibility of Parliament (section 19 paragraph. 1).

The Act on Greenland Self-Government
Greenland's foreign affairs are regulated by Chapter 4 of Self-Government Act, which sets when the Greenland Government can act independently and when state authorities have the jurisdiction. Already in the Preamble Naalakkersuisut and the Danish Government are based as equal partners. The goal is to involve Naalakkersuisut in matters relating to Greenland interests, also regarding matters that are not hometaken. Naalakkersuisut and the Danish government work together in order to ensure overall interests of both Greenland and the Kingdom of Denmark's overall interests.

Fields of hometaken responsibility
Naalakkersuisut has the authority to negotiate and enter into agreements with foreign states and international organizations, as long as it deals with matters relating exclusively to Greenland in areas that are hometaken. It is in these cases Naalakkersuisut can act in cooperation with the Faroe Islands.
Greenland may, within hometaken areas can be included as a member of international organizations, where Denmark is not a member, or organizations allow entities other than states to be members (§ 12 and 14).

The Government informs Naalakkersuiut when there are initiated negotiations on human right agreements, in areas that are of particular importance to Greenland.

The government has the jurisdiction in matters of foreign and security policy also in the areas in which Naalakkersuisut has not yet taken over. The Government informs Naalakkersuisut before entering international negotiations in areas which has particular importance to Greenland. Naalakkersuisut must be consulted and usually have the opportunity to participate in the Danish negotiators. Agreements where Denmark and Greenland have been jointly involved in the negotiations, are signed by the Government, with Naalakkersuisut as far as possible.

The Government may also authorize Naalakkersuisut to conduct the negotiations, with the participation of the Danish Foreign Ministry (§ 12 and 13).

Administrative cooperation between Naalakkersuisut and Ministry of Foreign Affairs
On 9 May 2005, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs signed an administrative cooperation. The agreement aims to discuss the administrative and framework conditions also cooperation between the two administrations, including joint training and exchange scheme. The Forum meets once a year.

Later that year, Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued guidelines for cooperation with Naalakkersuisut (then The Cabinet). These include the use of different titles, and practices that have emerged in the context of cooperation between the Foreign Ministry and Naalakkersuisut. These guidelines still apply.

Below you will find the Danish Constitution and The Act on Greenland Self-Government, which forms the legal framework applicable to the foreign policy responsibilities.

The Act on Greenland Self-Government

The Danish Constitution