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The EU Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental RightsA Commentary$

Manuel Kellerbauer, Marcus Klamert, and Jonathan Tomkin

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198794561

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198794561.001.0001

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Article 204 TFEU

Article 204 TFEU

(p.1578) Article 204 TFEU
The EU Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights

Dimitry Kochenov

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

Article 188 EC The provisions of Articles 198 to 203 shall apply to Greenland, subject to the specific provisions for Greenland set out in the Protocol on special arrangements for Greenland, annexed to the Treaties.

Keywords:   Protocol on special arrangements, Greenland Treaty, EU citizens

(ex Article 188 EC)

  • The provisions of Articles 198 to 203 shall apply to Greenland, subject to the specific provisions for Greenland set out in the Protocol on special arrangements for Greenland, annexed to the Treaties.

Selected bibliography

Bibliography references:

Jørgen Albæk Jensen, ‘The Position of Greenland and the Faroe Islands within the Danish Realm’ [2003] 9 EPL 170

Frederik Harhoff, ‘Greenland’s Withdrawal from the European Communities’ [1983] 13 CML Rev 13

Jean Lefaucheux, ‘Le Nouveau Régime des Relations Entre le Groenland et la Communauté Economique Européenne’ [1985] 284 RDMC 81

Yves Luchaire, ‘L’Autonomie Groenlandaise à l’Epreuve du Marché Commun’ [1980] 16 RTD eur 203

Friedl Weiss, ‘Greenland’s Withdrawal from the European Communities’ [1985] 10 EL Rev 173

Main legal instruments

  • The Council Decision on EU/Denmark/Greenland Relations sets out the financial assistance to Greenland.1

  • The EC/Denmark/Greenland Fisheries Partnership Agreement provides for tariff-free access of Greenlandic fisheries products to the internal market.2

  • The EC/Denmark/Greenland Joint Declaration on partnership between the EC and Greenland opens the door to broader cooperation.3

  • The Treaty amending, with regard to Greenland, the Treaties establishing the European Communities established the special OCT status for Greenland.4


1 Greenland acquired OCT status as a result of leaving the internal market as a follow-up of a home-rule referendum, when the territory acquired sufficient powers to frame its position vis-à-vis the EEC.5 As a consequence, Greenland has been included in Annex II TFEU upon the entry into force of the Greenland Treaty, which put into law the negotiated response to reflecting the decision of the Greenlandic people in EU law. It would (p.1579) thus be a mistake to state that Greenland ‘left the EU’: only a MS can do this under Article 50 TEU. Greenland only went through a status change comparable to OR (or the presumption of full application of the acquis) to OCT status, what is now covered by Article 355(6) TFEU after the ToL. Greenland is thus unquestionably part of Denmark, a MS of the EU and is subject to all relevant EU law including Part IV TFEU and all other law which does not know purely territorial framing.

2 Greenlanders are full EU citizens enjoying EU citizenship rights in the territory of the Union (see Commentary to Article 203 TFEU).

3 Rather than opting for a sui generis status for Greenland, the parties agreed to make it an OCT, which is the reason for the inclusion of Article 204 TFEU into the Treaties.6 To reflect the special position of Greenland among the OCTs as a matter of size but also as a matter of its road to the OCT status which is different from all the other OCTs (only Greenland became an OCT under a separately negotiated Treaty7), the provision refers to the ‘special arrangements’ for Greenland.8

4 The core of the special arrangements, as outlined in Protocol No 34, consists in subjecting tariff-free access of Greenlandic fisheries products to the internal market to an agreement between the two parties. Such an agreement established the degree of access of EU fishing boats to the Greenlandic exclusive economic zone: putting fisheries at the heart of the EU–Greenland relationship.9 The agreements emphasize sustainable fishing and establish clear rules on quotas to avoid the Faroese situation when overfishing led to international legal disputes between the EU and the Faroe Islands.10

5 Financial assistance to Greenland comes from the general EU budget and not the EDF as is the case with other OCTs.11 Both Greenland and the EU noted their interest in extending cooperation beyond fisheries in a Joint Declaration by Greenland, Denmark, and the EU.12


(1) Council Decision 2014/137/EU on relations between the European Union on the one hand, and Greenland and the Kingdom of Denmark on the Other [2014] OJ L76/1

(2) Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community on the one hand, and the Government of Denmark and the Home Rule Government of Greenland, on the other hand [2007] OJ L172/4.

(3) Joint Declaration by the European Community, on the one hand, and the Home Rule Government of Greenland and the Government of Denmark, on the other, on partnership between the European Community and Greenland [2006] OJ L208/32.

(4) [1985] OJ L29/1.

(5) The colony of Greenland became fully incorporated into Denmark in 1953, but acquired a home rule status in 1979, following the Faroe Islands, which enjoyed the same since 1949.

(6) The possibility of Greenland’s OCT status was on the table even before the actual accession of Denmark to the EEC. See e.g. Boye Jacobsen, ‘The Færœ Islands and Greenland and the European Communities’ in Maurice Bathurst et al (eds), Legal Problems of an Enlarged European Community (Stevens and Sons 1972).

(7) [1985] OJ L29/1. See also Commentary on Article 48 TEU, para [27].

(8) Protocol on Special Arrangements for Greenland [1985] OJ L29/7.

(9) See Fisheries Partnership Agreement [2007] OJ L172/4.

(10) Mihail Vatsov, ‘The Mackerel War’ [2014] 39 EL Rev 864.

(11) Council Decision 2014/137/EU [2014] OJ L76/1.   

(12) [2006] OJ L208/32.