In 1979 Greenland became largely autonomous (hjemmestyre) and in 1982 a referendum showed that a majority of the population wanted to secede from the European Communities.
Denmark as the member state responsible proposed changing Greenland’s status. This led to amendments of the treaty, in force from 1 January 1985.
The Greenland Treaty, officially the Treaty amending, with regard to Greenland, the Treaties establishing the European Communities, published OJ 1.2.1985 L 29/1
The Official Journal from 1985 is not available in electronic form and the Eur-Lex web page with treaties does not offer the Greenland Treaty in a readable format, so here is the Greenland Treaty together with the Greenland Protocol as originally published, courtesy of the Greenland Representation to the European Union:
Greenland is the only territory to have voted for secession, but Greenland is not a member of the European Community (European Union). Denmark still is, so what happened was that the territorial scope of primary and secondary Community legislation was reduced.
This resulted in special arrangements with the European Community.
Greenland is mentioned among the non-European associated countries and territories (OCTs) in Annex II.
However, the applicability of the OCT provisions is subject to the so called Greenland Protocol, as laid down in Article 188 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC):
Article 188 TEC
The provisions of Articles 182 to 187 shall apply to Greenland, subject to the specific provisions for Greenland set out in the Protocol on special arrangements for Greenland, annexed to this Treaty.
The Lisbon Treaty does not change the substance with regard to Greenland. In the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) the article on association would be 204:
ASSOCIATION OF THE OVERSEAS COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES)
Article 204 TFEU
(ex Article 188 TEC)
The provisions of Articles 198 to 203 shall apply to Greenland, subject to the specific provisions for Greenland set out in the Protocol on special arrangements for Greenland, annexed to the Treaties.
The relations between Greenland and the European Union rested on the principles of the Greenland Protocol and agreements about fishing rights, but from the beginning of 2007 the relations have been broadened.
The perspectives and objectives are set out in Joint declaration by the European Community, on the one hand, and the Home Rule Government of Greenland and the Government of Denmark, on the other, on partnership between the European Community and Greenland, published OJEU 29.7.2006 L 208/32.
Fisheries Partnership Agreement
The Council Decision and the fisheries agreement form the traditional pillar of these relations, here in Corrigendum to Council Decision 2006/1006/EC of 21 December 2006 on the conclusion of the Agreement in the form of an Exchange of Letters relating to the provisional application of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community, on the one hand, and the Government of Denmark and the Home Rule Government of Greenland, on the other, published OJEU 2.2.2007 L 27/15.
Council Regulation (EC) No 753/2007 of 28 June 2007 on the conclusion of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community on the one hand, and the Government of Denmark and the Home Rule Government of Greenland, on the other hand, published OJEU 30.6.2007 L 172/1.
Other areas of cooperation
New areas of cooperation are included in Council Decision 2006/526/EC of 17 July 2006 on relations between the European Community on the one hand, and Greenland and the Kingdom of Denmark on the other, published OJEU 29.7.2006 L 208/28.
Commission Regulation (EC) No 439/2007 of 20 April 2007 implementing Council Decision 2006/526/EC on relations between the European Community on the one hand, and Greenland and the Kingdom of Denmark on the other, published OJEU 21.4.2007 L 104/20.
Greenland’s autonomy has been extended gradually. A joint Committee of Greenland and Denmark has produced a concrete proposal for even wider autonomy (selvstyre). On 25 November 2008 more than 75 per cent of the Greenland voters supported the plan.
For more information on current affairs and Greenland’s future, see Nanoq (Greenland Home Rule):
EU and Greenland
Greenland’s Representation to the EU offers helpful pages on EU and Greenland, OCTs and Greenland in General: