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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 28 October 2014

Further EU support for sustainable development of Greenland

The European Commission announced today that €217.8 million will be given to education and vocational training in Greenland for the period 2014-2020. By choosing education as focus the EU and Greenland agree on the role that education plays as driver for long-term and sustainable development.

The signature of the development programme (known as Programming Document), between European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs and acting Premier of Greenland Kim Kielsen, took place today during a bilateral meeting.

Commissioner Piebalgs said: “The signing of this programme is a clear indication of both the commitment of the European Union to the sustainable development of Greenland and the willingness of both sides to maintain the long and lasting links between us. I am particularly pleased to see that we will assist Greenland in reaching concrete results in terms of a better and higher-educated population and a better-skilled labour force.

Greenland receives funding from the EU’s general budget through the "EU-Greenland partnership". The new cooperation programme was approved by the Commission in September 2014, following extensive consultations between the European Commission and the Governments of Greenland and Denmark.

Education has been chosen as the main sector for the cooperation. Besides the continuation of the support for the education sector, particular emphasis will be put on vocational education and training, the post-elementary school system and the pre-school and elementary school system.

Examples of how the EU is making a difference

The EU-Greenland partnership 2007-2013 allocated approximately €190 million; mainly in support of the education sector for the time period 2007-2013.

The EU support has contributed to the following achievements:

  • Attendance of Vocational Education and Training (VET) and to high school was increased by 39% compared to 2005.

  • The number of students in higher education increased by 53% compared to 2005.

  • The number of graduates from all types of formal education after elementary school increased by 64%.

  • The number of dormitories has increased by 500 places between 2010 and 2013.

  • In addition, new schools (Greenland School of Minerals and Petroleum in 2011) and school expansions (School for Social Workers in 2010) have been completed.

What are the next steps?

During the period 2014-2020, the Commission will be adopting a financial decision on an annual basis, whereby the financial resources made available to Greenland will be defined. The decisions will be followed by policy dialogue meetings between the parties where national work plans are discussed and agreed upon. These work plans will be followed by annual implementing reports, explaining the results achieved, difficulties encountered and mitigating actions proposed.

Policy dialogue can cover other areas, such as macro-economic situation and any public finance management issues, if necessary.


Greenland is one of the 25 Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) associated with the European Union. Greenland is a self-governing country within the Kingdom of Denmark. The Act of Greenland Self-Government determines the constitutional status of Greenland. Greenland was part of the European Community between 1973 and 1985. Following withdrawal in 1985 (after a referendum in 1982), a Treaty ensured Greenland’s association with the European Union as an OCT.

For more information

Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs:

Website of DG Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid, cooperation with Greenland:

Contacts :

Alexandre Polack (+32 2 299 06 77)

Maria Sanchez Aponte (+32 2 298 10 35)

For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by e-mail

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