KUUPIK KLEIST IN BRUSSELS
Greenlands Premier Kuupik Kleist in Brussels for a meeting about the future challenges
By greenland today, Brussels, Pernille Witten-Mogensen
07 MAY 2012
Today at the Greenland Representation in Brussels a group of officials, journalists and lobbyists met Kuupik Kleist for a briefing on future visions for Greenland.
Andris Piebalgs, Development Responsible for the EU receives Greenlands Premier Kuupik Kleist (right) in Brussels.
Visions and issues
Many of the issues that Greenland has right now, are of interest for a wide circle in the EU. These include the arctic conditions, oil exploration, development issues, education and climate change.
Therefore there was a huge appearance at the Greenland Representation in Brussels for today's briefing by Kuupik Kleist, who addressed the most current topics.
EU and Greenland - a world apart
Among Kuupik Kleist's illustrations for his briefing was his favorite picture. It show a map of Europe, where Greenland is inserted and fill just over half of Europe's countries. But there are only 57,000 people in Greenland compared to Europe's 700 million inhabitants.
- To put our issues in perspective, said Kuupik Kleist.
Focus on infrastructure
Then it is easier to understand the challenges Greenland have, managing such a large area.
And for the same reason is the country's basic infrastructure one of the areas in which the Greenland government wants more future focus. There is no roads from town to town, and a lot of transportation is by plane or boat.
Kuupik Kleist pointed at agriculture as a future growth area, but the challenge will be to carry goods around the country.
Nalunaq - you never know
Apart from the significant different compared with Europe, Greenland also has many of the same challenges as most other Western countries, like financial crisis, an aging population and the consequences of globalization.
- We do not call ourselves a developing country, but we have much to develop, continued Kuupik Kleist.
Mining, oil exploration and energy sectors are areas of media and the industry's attention, which expect business ventures and large foreign investments.
But Kleist counseled moderation
- Remember that we are not yet an oil exporting country. And out of all the existing mineral mines, so far only one gold mine are active, namely the Nalunaq mine, which means »you never know«.
These are areas which all requires enormous risky investments and areas where Greenland can only hope, that externals continue to help face the challenges.
Greenland welcomes China and everyone else
- We invite everyone interested in our country. We are not in a position where we can pick and choose, said Kuupik Kleist addressed to questions about China's interests in Greenland.
While he hopes to see continued major investments from European companies, he pointed out the opportunities in China's interest. Besides oil and raw material, there could also prove to be a market for seal skins, which currently can't be sold in Europe because of the ban.
China also wants to be part of the Arctic Council, a situation to which Greenland has a pragmatic approach.
- Russia will not have China aboard, and Canada does not want the EU. But our position is, that if a country meets the criterias, then they can join the Arctic Council, whether it's China or the EU, said Kuupik Kleist, ending the day's first program, which also includes a meeting with EU President Jose Manuel Barroso about general issues in Greenland.
EU President Jose Manuel Barroso meets Greenlands Premier Kuupik Kleist.