To top
A Fight for The Icy Africa? Greenland Caught Between the Colonial Past, the U.S. Arctic Interests and the EU Strategic Autonomy
Analysis and Forecasting. IMEMO Journal

A Fight for The Icy Africa? Greenland Caught Between the Colonial Past, the U.S. Arctic Interests and the EU Strategic Autonomy

DOI: 10.20542/afij-2024-1-39-51
EDN: EAVALR
© Nikita E. BELUKHIN , 2024
Received 21.02.2024.  
Revised 15.03.2024. 
Accepted 10.04.2024.
Nikita E. BELUKHIN (belukhin@imemo.ru), ORCID: 0000-0001-7505-2356,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow 117997, Russian Federation.

The article deals with the foreign policy priorities of Greenland as they are reflected in the perception and rhetoric of the contemporary Greenlandic elites. The special focus is on the current stage of the autonomous territory’s development, in particular the possibility of concluding a free association agreement, as envisaged in the draft constitution of Greenland, published in April 2023. With the 2019–2023 period as a basis, the article provides an insight into the key events of the following areas of Greenland’s foreign policy contacts: the Danish-Greenlandic relations, Inuit internationalism where the bonds with the Inuit of Canada are of most significance, Greenland's place in the US Arctic strategy and its great-power competition with China, and, finally, the increased interest of the EU and certain European countries in fostering relations with the Danish Arctic autonomy, which can contribute to developing the EU strategic autonomy. The study of the political discourse has shown that Greenlandic elites have been successfully using colonial ‘traumas’ and a growing circle of contacts with major external actors to exact pressure on Copenhagen and expand its political leverage despite the absence of substantial economic successes comparable to those achieved by the Faroe Islands, another Danish autonomy. Greenland’s desire to increase its own actorness on the international scene makes it difficult for Copenhagen to use the ‘Greenland card’ both in its relations with the USA to revitalize the special relations with the key ally and as a contribution to the EU strategic autonomy. The Danish leadership is thus entrapped by Greenland’s own economic and foreign policy potential, since the widespread use of Greenland in relations with the EU, NATO, the United States and other actors of world politics could potentially lead to the renewed mounting pressure on Copenhagen from Greenland and to the autonomy’s further alienation and diplomatic self-sufficiency.

Keywords

About the author: Nikita E. Belukhin, Postgraduate Student, Junior Researcher, Department for European Political Studies.

Competing interests: no potential competing financial or non-financial interest was reported by the author.

Funding: no funding was received for conducting this study.

For citation:

Belukhin N. A Fight for The Icy Africa? Greenland Caught Between the Colonial Past, the U.S. Arctic Interests and the EU Strategic Autonomy. Analysis & Forecasting. Journal of IMEMO, 2024, no 1, pp. 39-51. https://doi.org/10.20542/afij-2024-1-39-51

© IMEMO 2024