Autonomy in Denmark: Greenland and the Faroe Islands

Fecha de publicación:
Gestur Hovgaard and Maria Ackrén

Authors: Gestur Hovgaard, Head of Institute, University of Greenland; Associate Professor, University of the Faroe Islands and Maria Ackrén, Associate Professor, University of Greenland

Greenland and the Faroes are autonomous jurisdictions within the Danish Realm, having undertaken a continuous process of extended self-determination in the post-WWII era. In both jurisdictions there are strong movements of secession and counter-secession, whose respective strengths are largely achieved through external relations. This paper will first provide an introduction to the historical background and the formal relationship between the two jurisdictions and their metropolitan state. We will then extend the two cases with a description of how increased internal autonomy has evolved in a dynamic interaction with changes in international affairs. Whether the two jurisdictions may move towards full secession or new forms of unity is difficult to predict, but external relations keep on pushing at the formal structures and limits of the realm, which we will briefly reflect upon in the final section.