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Residents of the Faroe Islands and Greenland can rest assured: Denmark will not spoil the two countries’ efforts to draw up constitutions, as it appears both Tórshavn and Nuuk will do in the coming years.
Leaders from all three countries, which collectively form the Kingdom of Denmark, were gathered in Copenhagen yesterday for an annual meeting. Here, Lars Løkke Rasmussen (pictured above), the Danish PM, made it clear that adopting a constitution was something the two countries could decide for themselves.
Denmark, he added, was prepared to help, but on the condition it was asked, and that the point of drawing up the constitution was made clear from the start.
“They need to be up front about which direction they are headed in: towards a constitution for an independent state or a constitution that would apply to the Faroe Islands and Greenland as a part of the kingdom,” Mr Rasmussen said.
Both countries are permitted to declare their independence from Denmark when they feel the time is right. Neither appears ready to do that just yet. A first step in the process, however, would be to draw up constitutions that do not supersede Danish law, but instead define things like the national forms of government and which rights residents have.
The process has gained momentum in the past year. In the Faroe Islands, a new government came to power on September on the promise that it would hold a referendum on the matter by 2017. In Greenland, a majority of Inatsisartut, the national assembly, gave its nod during the autumn session towards seating a commission that will work out the details of a constitution.
Kim Kielsen, the Greenlandic premier, who described the Danish position as positive, hinted at the type of constition he expected would come out of its work.
“The annual meetings between Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands are important for the unity of the realm,” he said.