Greenland. After many years of demands from Greenland,
the Danish government in January pledged to contribute SEK
180 million for the clearing of abandoned US military bases
from the Second World War. The bases have led to major
environmental degradation in over 20 locations in Greenland,
and according to experts, the Danish contribution to the
cleaning is not enough.
Ahead of spring's election to Greenland's parliament, the
County Council, a lively debate on independence from Denmark
was held. Most parties advocated independence but disagreed
on schedule and economic viability.
In 2018, Denmark contributed SEK 3.8 billion, over half
of Greenland's self-government budget. In addition, Denmark
is paying for, among other things, sea rescue and coastal
surveillance. Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen
said that Greenland cannot count on grants if the kingdom is
independent. Løkke Rasmussen was criticized by Greenlandic
politicians, who felt that the Danish government was
extortionist in the process of independence.
Greenland's head of government Kim Kielsen of the Social
Democratic Siumut said in the election movement that
independence requires jobs and education for young people to
be secured and that the economy grows with increased income
from fishing, tourism and mining. Siumut wanted to raise the
level of education, which is the lowest in the Nordic
countries. Only four out of ten Greenlanders have education
after primary school. Siumut suggested that English should
replace Danish as a second language in the school.
The government parties again became the largest in the
election, but both declined, Siumut to 27.2% and the left
party Inuit Ataqatigiit to 25.5%. They retained a majority
in the County Council, but disagreement over the fisheries
policy caused their coalition to dissolve.
Instead, Siumut formed a government with the small
parties Naleraq, Atassut and Nunatta Qitornai. The majority
was the smallest possible, 16 of the County Council's 31
The fragile coalition soon got into an internal battle
over the expansion of Greenland's airports. A state-owned
Chinese giant contractor had tendered for the billion
project, but the United States warned Denmark that it could
lead to Chinese military presence and then the Danish
government wanted to go into funding the airports. The head
of government Kielsen agreed to such a Danish-Greenlandic
cooperation, but then the new party Naleraq revolted, which
meant that Denmark invaded the Greenlandic self-government.
Naleraq left the government in September, and Kielsen
settled with the Social Liberal Democrats about supporting
the minority coalition.
During the year, NASA sent a new satellite to measure
changes in ice cover in, among others, Greenland. The
technology is said to be able to detect changes in ice
thickness down to half a centimeter.
Danish journalist and writer Anne Kirstine Hermann
received the first scholarship from the murdered journalist
Kim Wall's memorial fund during the year. The scholarship
will be used to investigate how the Greenlanders were
affected by Denmark's assimilation policy after the Second
World War, when people were moved from villages to cities
and children were taken from parents to be raised as Danes.