EU and Greenland reinforce their partnership

From 5 to 13 November 2021 officials from the European Commission visited Nuuk for high technical level exchanges with the Government of Greenland and other stakeholders on a new phase of reinforced cooperation.
The visit comes after the EU decided on a comprehensive partnership with overseas countries and territories, which includes a financial contribution for Greenland of € 225 million in grants for the period 2021-2027. It also follows the recent adoption of the new European strategy for the Arctic region. This was the first visit to Nuuk since summer 2019 due to COVID-restrictions. This was the occasion for the officials from the European Commission to see their Greenlandic partners in person instead of through videoconference. The objective was to define the new phase of the partnership. The EU will continue its longstanding and substantial support for the education sector. Beyond this important goal, the partners will also join forces to promote green growth in Greenland – a new joint political priority.

The discussions with Greenlandic authorities covered in particular the topics of education, renewable energy, biodiversity, research and mineral resources.

The European Commission team also exchanged with the Greenland Business Association and Nukissiorfiit on the future of Greenland’s economy. The officials also visited a maritime school, a primary school and a high school to experience first-hand how the partnership on education is delivering in practice.

In addition, the visit was also the opportunity to discuss the perspective of the European Commission opening an Office in Nuuk in the near future.
During the visit, Head of Unit Sylvie Millot at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships said: “We are enthusiastic about the perspective to extend our already substantial partnership with Greenland in the years ahead. It is our intention to reinforce our contribution to Greenland’s education system and to support Greenland to fulfil its potential for sustainable growth. Our guiding vision is a greener, more inclusive and more sustainable future. Youth will be the vector of progress.”

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Minninquaq Kleist said: “We share with the EU a mutually beneficial partnership. The EU has been a longstanding and trusted partner of Greenland with common values and interests. With ever-increasing cooperation and joint priorities - education and green growth - Greenland and the EU can achieve great things.”

BACKGROUND

The EU and Greenland are long-standing and trusted partners. They are working together for mutual benefits, to address global challenges including climate change, the pandemic and resilience, to foster socially inclusive prosperity and well-being.

Greenland is the largest of the thirteen EU’s Overseas Countries and Territories, which are located in the Atlantic, Antarctic, Arctic, Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific and are constitutionally linked to three EU member States. For the new cooperation phase 2021-2027 the EU has reserved through the Overseas Association Decision of 5 October 2021 up to EUR 225 million dedicated to cooperation with Greenland. Traditionally, the cooperation has a strong focus on education. Both, Greenland and the EU are keen to broaden this partnership to foster green growth. This comes at a moment where Greenland also features prominently in the Communication of the European Commission of 13 October 2021 on a stronger EU engagement for a peaceful, sustainable and prosperous Arctic with the prospect to set up an European Commission Office in Greenland in the near future. Moreover, 2022 will be the European Year of Youth. The EU is looking forward to continue its engagement with the Greenlandic youth through student exchanges with its flagship programme Erasmus but also through an upcoming EU-OCT Youth Network. The longstanding EU Greenlandic partnership is further complemented by a sustainable fisheries agreement from 2020.