In 1985 Greenland voted to leave the European Economic Community, mainly to have more control over their fishing. Greenland also happens to be part of Denmark. Let's assume the United Kingdom's European Union referendum (BREXIT) outcome on 2016-06-23 will be to remain in the European Union.

Brussels has proposed to introduce some measures to crack down on tax avoidance and tax evasion within its member states. Would it be possible for the City of London to leave the European Union to preserve its banking heaven status and to keep all those rich "job creators" coming, in the same manner Greenland did? Or would this be significantly different and legally impossible to pull of? All while London and the rest of the UK remains within the EU.

  • 4
    To better understand this question, some useful background information about the difference between "London" and "City of London": part1, part2.
    – Philipp
    Apr 28, 2016 at 17:14
  • Would be hard to sell ever for English people: "Your tax heaven, now even closer you. Making life easier for the privileged while you pay the bill"
    – SJuan76
    Apr 28, 2016 at 19:06

1 Answer 1


The reason that Greenland could withdraw from the EEC is that it is an autonomous country within the Danish Kingdom. The City of London is a subsidiary jurisdiction within England, just as any city within the country. As a result it cannot make independent political arrangements with outside powers.

City of London Governance

The City of London is a city and county within London. It constituted most of London from its settlement by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages, but the agglomeration has since grown far beyond the City's borders.[4] The City is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though it remains a notable part of central London. It is one of two districts of London to hold city status; the other is the adjacent City of Westminster.

The City has a unique political status, a legacy of its uninterrupted integrity as a corporate city since the Anglo-Saxon period and its singular relationship with the Crown. Historically its system of government was not unusual, but it was not reformed by the Municipal Reform Act 1835 and little changed by later reforms.

It is administered by the City of London Corporation, headed by the Lord Mayor of London (not the same as the more recent Mayor of London), which is responsible for a number of functions and has interests in land beyond the City's boundaries. Unlike other English local authorities, the Corporation has two council bodies: the (now largely ceremonial) Court of Aldermen and the Court of Common Council. The Court of Aldermen represents the wards, with each ward (irrespective of size) returning one Alderman. The chief executive of the Corporation holds the ancient office of Town Clerk of London.

The City is a ceremonial county which has a Commission of Lieutenancy headed by the Lord Mayor instead of a Lord-Lieutenant and has two Sheriffs instead of a High Sheriff (see list of Sheriffs of London), quasi-judicial offices appointed by the Livery Companies, an ancient political system based on the representation and protection of trades (Guilds). Senior members of the Livery Companies are known as Liverymen and form the Common Hall, which chooses the Lord Mayor, the Sheriffs and certain other officers.

Denmark is a sovereign state that comprises Denmark proper and two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland.


Grønland [ˈɡ̊ʁɶnˌlanˀ]) is an autonomous country within the Danish Realm, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe (specifically Norway and Denmark, the colonial powers, as well as the nearby island of Iceland) for more than a millennium.[9] In 2008, the people of Greenland passed a referendum supporting greater autonomy; 75% of votes cast were in favour.

In 1985, Greenland left the European Economic Community (EEC), unlike Denmark, which remains a member. The EEC later became the European Union (EU, it was renamed and expanded in scope in 1992). Greenland retains some ties with the EU via Denmark. However, EU law largely does not apply to Greenland except in the area of trade.

  • 1
    So it seems London couldn't be part of UE alone like described in the OP, but we could imagine Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland chosing to star or leave UE independantly from England, right?
    – Bregalad
    Apr 30, 2016 at 20:16
  • London couldn't be, not sure about City of London though. They are pretty autonomous, they have their own tax rules, police and election system. Apr 30, 2016 at 21:22
  • 2
    @mega_creamery but it is still part of Great Briton. It might be an independent jurisdiction from the metropolis of London, but that has nothing to do with foreign relations. I added the Wikipedia reference to the post. May 1, 2016 at 14:12
  • @Bregalad I just noticed your comment. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are as much part of Great Britain as England. As a result, they cannot make individual treaties unlike Greenland. They would have to secede from Great Britain if they wanted to join on their own. Jan 10, 2017 at 18:41
  • @sabbahillel: Great Britain = England + Scotland + Wales. The UK = Great Britain + Northern Ireland. Hence Northern Ireland isn't part of Great Britain. Nov 12, 2018 at 0:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .