Greenland. Greenland was in a financially difficult position. The government hoped for increased revenues from raw material extraction, fishing and tourism. In January, China entered the Greenland mining industry for the first time. A major Chinese importer of iron took control of a Greenland mining project, which is estimated to cost DKK 13 billion. Iron ore is to be mined under the inland ice in a desolate, cold and windy area near the Arctic Circle, northeast of the capital Nuuk.
At the same time, Statoil, GDF Suez and Dong announced that they had given up trying to find oil in the sea west of Greenland. The companies’ conclusion was that it was too expensive and too uncertain. Another company, Cairn Energy, had spent SEK 7 billion on unprofitable drilling and had closed its office in Nuuk. This development affected the economy of Greenland, which previously received hundreds of millions of SEK a year in fees from oil exploration. But Greenland oil is difficult and expensive to access, and in the long term, oil looks to be losing ground to other energy sources. Greenpeace welcomed that several oil companies have completed their search in areas where the risk of oil spills is high and with extreme consequences for the environment and fisheries. In April, the Greenland mining company Nuna-Mineral filed for bankruptcy. Greenland’s self-government is the main owner of the company.
Self-government government leader Kim Kielsen explained in April that his goal is not to free Greenland from Denmark. According to Nielsen, many problems must be solved, such as unemployment, housing shortages, poverty and threatening financial deficits, before there can be talk of increased independence from Denmark.
Ahead of the Danish elections in June, the deposed Greenlandic leader of the former self-government government, Aleqa Hammond, declared that she was running for a Greenlandic seat in the Folketinget for the Social Democratic Siumut. She had been forced to step down in 2014 after accusations of using large sums of public money for private use. The popular popular Hammond received by far the most Greenlandic votes and took a mandate for Siumut, the second Greenlandic mandate in the Folketing went to the left party IA (Inuit Ataqatigiit).
Greenland, together with the Faroe Islands during the year, demanded a renegotiation of the rules for the so-called national community, so that the two islands can decide independently on their fishing policy. They want to increase their catch quotas when climate change makes the world ocean warmer and the fishing hours are heading north. But the EU and Asian countries also want some of the increasing fishing opportunities in the North Atlantic as the ice melts at the North Pole. In the negotiations on this, Denmark wants to speak for the entire national community, but Greenland and the Faroe Islands want to represent themselves.
In September, an agreement was signed between Denmark, Greenland, Norway, the Russian Federation, the USA and Canada to protect the polar bears and their habitat, primarily against threats from shipping and oil and gas drilling. The biggest threat comes from climate change and melting sea ice, since ice is crucial to polar bears’ ability to hunt for food and survive.
In September, the European Parliament adopted a new regulation on sealskins, which means that the 28 member states can continue to buy sealskin products from Greenland, despite the EU having an import and export ban on sealskins. The exception for Inuit people was threatened but remained after pressure from Denmark and Greenland.
A survey of public health in Greenland presented in October showed that Greenland men live on average 69 years and women 74 years. This means eight years lower average life than in Denmark. Smoking, alcohol and suicide are important causes, according to investigators. 57% of the population in Greenland smoke, 17% in Denmark. In relation to the population, Greenland has one of the highest suicide rates in the world.