'The image speaks for itself': Greenland PM criticises Danish government

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'The image speaks for itself': Greenland PM criticises Danish government
Greenland PM Mute Egede speaks to the media in 2022. Photo: Christian Klindt Soelbeck / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP

The prime minister of Greenland said on Thursday he regretted the way relations between his autonomous Arctic territory and mainland Denmark had deteriorated following Copenhagen's appointment of a new Arctic ambassador.


"Relations between Denmark and Greenland are not at their best at the moment," the head of the Greenland government, Mute, told Danish daily Politiken.

Greenland is unhappy about Denmark's appointment of a new ambassador who has no ties to the region, despite an accord stipulating that Greenland must be consulted on Danish decisions that concern it.

"The procedure reveals what the foreign ministry thinks of us and the way it doesn't include us, when we are the country's Arctic region. The image speaks for itself," Egede said.

Ambassador Tobias Elling Rehfeld, an expert on international law, is not Greenlandic.

Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen responded to Egede's criticism by saying Rehfeld's nomination was in line with other ambassadorial appointments made by his ministry.

"As things stand now, (Greenland's) foreign policy is still managed by the kingdom of Denmark," Rasmussen said.

Copenhagen was "trying in many areas to help Greenland play a bigger role in terms of foreign policy", he added.


Ties between the two have also been strained by the decision of a Greenland MP to make a speech in the Danish parliament in Greenlandic. Some politicians argue that exchanges in the assembly should be solely in Danish. There is no set rule on the matter so parliamentary officials are to meet in June to decide.

Greenland has been autonomous since 1979. The world's largest island -- located in the Arctic some 2,500 kilometres
(1,550 miles) from Denmark -- has its own flag, language, culture, institutions and prime minister.

But it relies heavily on a Danish grant, which makes up a quarter of its GDP and more than half its public budget.

Matters concerning currency, the justice system, and foreign and security affairs remain under Denmark's authority.

At the end of April, the Greenlandic parliament began examining a draft constitution, drawn up in secrecy over four years, which could be the basis for negotiations if the territory sought independence from Denmark.


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