For Greenland, melting relationship
The 25th of November 2008, Greenlanders have participated to a referendum in order to strengthen their autonomy, a vote that many see as a crucial steptowards independence for the island, which has been under Danish control since 1775.
About 39,000 voters were called to go to ballot boxes. Besides a greater autonomy, the victory of the "yes" wouldprovide to Greenlanders the right to receive each year 75 million Kroners (10 million Euros) from the potential exploitation of oil reserves in this froze area, huge but unpopulated. Beyond thisamount, all revenues from oil would be shared equally with Denmark.
The measure submitted to the population, mainly composed of Inuit, also proposes a transfer of expertises in 30 new areas. It wouldenable the Greenland have its own police force, courts, coastguards and that would make Greenlandic become the official language.
Today, Greenland's economy depends heavily on subsidies fromCopenhagen. But inhabitants of the island hope that oil reserves can be found offshore the west and south coasts. Currently, it’s difficult to predict an assured future.
On his side, Denmark isfavourable for a strengthened autonomy and a progressive loss of its annual grant (aid) of 550 million dollars (470 million Euros), representing two thirds of the territory's economy.
Greenland has had thestatus of Danish colony from 1775 to 1953, and then became a province. In 1979 a law allowed the island to develop its own Parliament and government, and autonomy in health, education and socialservices.
Even if they win the "yes", Greenland will keep the Danish currency, while foreign affairs and defense matters will be remain under control of Copenhagen and the Queen Margrethe II willstill be the head of state of the land.
The main political parties in Greenland are favorable to the extension of autonomy except for Democrats, a small formation of the opposition who doubts the...
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