Greenland wants to cozy up with its neighbours

A history of using Danish schnapps to smooth over land disputes could set the tone for a budding friendship between Greenland and Canada. 

Driving the news: Greenland, a 57,000-person island nation that also happens to be the 12th-largest country in the world, is looking to strengthen political and economic ties with Canada and the U.S. as part of a larger push to become more economically independent. 

Catch-up: Greenland gained autonomy from Denmark back in 1979, but was only offered limited domestic powers. In 2009, Greenland won the right to self-rule, and increased control over its affairs, while still relying on the colonial kingdom for defence, policy, and funding.

  • Now, Greenland is looking to forge closer ties with North America, though it did stop short of entertaining former U.S. president Donald Trump’s offer to buy the island

Why it matters: Greenland is set to go from a country you’ve never thought about to an increasingly important player on the world stage. It’s home to what’s possibly the richest concentration of rare minerals in the world, many of which are essential to EV production. 

  • In a bid for economic reliance, Greenland has the (controversial) option of offering up its untapped supply of rare minerals and elements to Western supply chains. 
  • Greenland’s supply could also rival China’s chokehold on the industry, offering an opportunity for Western countries to move away from their Chinese dependence.

Zoom out: Greenland is also a crucial geopolitical foothold for Canada and the U.S. — which already has an army air base on the island — especially as tensions rise with Russia over Arctic security and concerns grow about the militarization of the region.—LA