Young Greenlanders are in no rush for their country to gain its independence

By Kevin McGwin, The Arctic Journal - March 10, 2017

The next generation of legislators in Greenland is urging the current members of the national assembly think twice about the consequences of severing ties with Denmark.

Meeting for a week-long session of the biennial youth parliament last month, two dozen 18-24 year olds agreed that Greenland ought to work towards its full independence, but suggested that legislators spend most of their time on more practical issues, like improving the quality of life for the unemployed and for children, who “are the ones who are going to run the country some day”, the group wrote in its concluding statement.

“Instead of drawing up a constitution now, we should draw up a social charter,” the group wrote, while also calling for things like “participation in globalisation” and a clear statement of Greenlandic values.

But once the time does come for Greenland to consider its independence, Denmark, according to the young legislators, should not be pushed out of the picture.

“We recommend maintaining ties to Denmark. Given the number of services that a society requires, the transition should take place gradually.”

Certain issues, like defence, the young legislators recognised would likely remain under Danish control, but others, such as control of the currency system, could eventually be devolved to Nuuk.

“We young people want independence, but we want it when we have the educational system and the economy that can support it. We want it only when we’ve taken care of all the social issues Greenland is dealing with, especially child-welfare issues,” Michael Clasen, one of the participants in the youth parliament, wrote in a statement.

“We young people are clearly more realistic about the independence process and our adult lawmakers should respect that,” Clasen said.