Greenlanders have overwhelmingly voted for heightened autonomy in a referendum that takes the Arctic island far down the road to complete independence from Denmark.
Copenhagen says it is up to Greenland to decide its own fate.
Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said: “We welcome the positive result of the referendum. We have now set the course towards more home rule in Greenland, and I look very much forward to the implementation of this strengthened home rule.”
The Arctic island has had home rule since 1979 but under the new law it will control its mineral and oil resources and will take on dozens of new domestic powers and some influence over foreign affairs.
But underlying Greenland’s drive to go it alone are concerns about its economic viability as an independent state.
“I don’t feel we are ready, when we are so behind in social welfare and in health issues,” said one woman voter.
Greenland is subsidised by Denmark to the tune of 30 percent of its GDP. Fishing and tourism are the main industries, but it has huge potential oil resources, which it has agreed to split equally with Denmark. Most analysts say independence will remain on the backburner until Greenland can exploit its natural riches.