Why Greenland opted out of EU membership: All you need to know

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Have you ever wondered why Greenland is not part of the European Union? This question may arise when we think about the geographical location of Greenland, which is close to Europe and North America. In this article, we will explore the reasons why Greenland is not a member of the EU.

The History of Greenland

Greenland is the world’s largest island, located in the North Atlantic Ocean between Europe and North America. It has been inhabited by various indigenous peoples for over 4,500 years. In the late 10th century, Norsemen settled in Greenland, but they left the island in the 15th century due to a cooling of the climate that made farming difficult.

Greenland remained a part of Denmark, which is a member of the EU, until 1979 when it was granted home rule. However, it was still considered a territory of Denmark and not an independent country at that time.

The Relationship Between Greenland and the EU

In 1985, Greenland decided to leave the European Economic Community (EEC), which is the precursor to the EU. The reason for this decision was the common fisheries policy of the EEC, which Greenland found harmful to its fishing industry.

Greenland’s departure from the EEC was carried out through a referendum in which the majority of the population voted to leave. Subsequently, Greenland negotiated a special relationship with the EU under the framework of the Overseas Association Decision.

This decision allows Greenland to have access to the EU market for its fish and seafood products, but it is not a member of the EU. Greenland remains a territory of Denmark and is represented in the EU by Denmark.

Why Greenland Is Not a Member of the EU

Despite being eligible for EU membership, Greenland has not expressed any interest in joining the EU. Greenland has a small population and economy, and it is not clear how much benefit it would derive from membership.

Moreover, Greenland is not entirely geographically connected to Europe, and its culture and history are different from most EU countries. Greenland has its own language and traditions, and it is a self-governing territory that values its independence.

Another factor in Greenland not being a member of the EU is the political landscape. Brexit has shown how difficult it can be to leave the EU or negotiate new relationships with it. Greenland is in a unique situation, and it is not clear how the EU would react if it applied for membership.


Greenland’s decision to leave the EEC in 1985 was based on its fisheries industry’s needs, and it has continued to choose to remain outside the EU. It has a special relationship with the union, which allows it to benefit from the EU’s large market for fish and seafood products.

Greenland’s independence and culture, small population and economy, and the unique political situation make it unlikely that it will join the EU in the future. Nevertheless, Greenland is an important part of the world and is a fascinating tourist destination that provides a glimpse into a unique culture and way of life.

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