Politics and economy in East Greenland
Between striving for autonomy and protection
Geographically Greenland belongs to the American continent. Politically it belongs to Denmark. Until 1953 it was a Danish colony. Afterwards its rights were extended and since 1979 Greenland has had an autonomous self-government. The government has jurisdiction over education, social issues and culture. Decisions regarding foreign affairs are made by the Danish parliament, where Greenland is represented by two members. Domestic security and defence are also under Danish governance.
In 2009 a new treaty between Denmark and Greenland becomes effective half year after the national referendum about an extension of the greenlandic autonomy. Greenland gets more independent from Denmark. Only foreign and defence policy remain in Danish reposibility. Kalaallisut, the Inuit language, becomes first national language; the Greenlandic government takes over the competence for police, justice and coast guard; the Danish queen Margrethe remains Greenland's official head of state.
Extreme climate affects the East Greenlandic economy
Economic activity takes place primarily in South and West Greenland. The fishing industry is the country’s main source of income. The climatic conditions and soil only allow for agriculture in the southern district (mostly sheep farming).
In East Greenland there is no other economic development up to now apart from tourism because of the harsh climatic conditions and sparse population. Only during 5 months of the year the harbour in Tasiilaq is open from ice for cargo ships. For professional training one has to move to the capital Nuuk in West Greenland and for studies other than in Nuuk the Greenlandic must move to Denmark. In Nuuk there is the only Greenlandic university since 1987 with four colleges: administration (economy, law, business management), cultural and social history, Greenlandic philology and media, and theology.
Although there are proven reserves of some natural resources (uranium, coal, cryolite, zinc, lead, gold and mineral oil) in significant quantities, they have not been exploited yet due to high costs for mining and transportation.
The tourism is a growing source of economic activity. 90% of Greenlandic tourism takes place in West Greenland, promoted in part by the Greenlandic government.
Recently Greenland is facing an increasing popularity in nature tourism. We hope for fair deals and development far from greed for pofit and mass tourism to keep the pristine beauty of the people and nature protected from future exploitation.
Greenlandic infrastructure – over granite and fjords
Due to geographic conditions, Greenlandic settlements are not connected with roads. The most important transportation device is the boat in summer time and the dog sledge and snow scooter in winter. The helicopter is another albeit more expensive alternative.