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Europe

EU Constitution Raises Questions over U.S. Military in Greenland

With the EU constitution in sight, there have been demands to investigate the consequences for Greenland, which may become a station in Washington's planned missile defense system.

With the EU constitution in sight, there have been demands to investigate the consequences for the Danish territories in the Northern Atlantic, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. On Tuesday, a request was sent to Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen by the representatives of the territories in the Danish Parliament. According to the letter, the Northern Atlantic representatives in the Folketing are worried about the possible impact of closer European cooperation, particularly in common foreign and defense policy. The so-called Danish Realm Community, which includes Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland, grants autonomy to Greenland and the Faroe Islands in many fields, but foreign policy is still governed from Copenhagen. Greenland left the EU in 1985, and the Faroe Islands decided not to join in 1973. The two territories have cooperation agreements with the EU on several issues including trade and fisheries.

The question of defense policy is especially significant when it comes to the Thule airbase in Greenland. Negotiations are currently going on between Denmark and the United States about the possible use of Thule in U.S. plans for a missile defense system. Denmark has a defense agreement with the US dating back to 1951. It wants to renew the agreement, but the Greenlanders want more influence on the decision. "Whether Denmark will let the EU run its foreign and security policy, is a Danish decision. However, we have to remind you, that some of what you are about to give up does not belong to you. It belongs to us", said Lars-Emil Johansen, one of Greenland's two representatives in the Danish Parliament, during a recent hearing. Johansen considers a Danish signature under the EU Constitution a threat against the Danish Realm Community. ( EUobserver.com)

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