Greenland withdrew from the European Community (now the European Union) in February 1985 over the issue of the fisheries policy. EU member states are allowed to fish within Greenland's maritime exclusion zone in exchange for an annual cash payment; this compensates, in part, for the loss of development aid which Greenland would otherwise have received. It also enjoys preferential access to EU markets.
Although there are plans to develop the island's mineral deposits of iron ore, uranium, zinc, lead and coal, the economy ultimately depends on large subsidies from the Danish central government. The KNI (Royal Greenland Trade Department) organises transport, supplies and production in the country.
In November 2008, Greenland voted to become a separate country within the Kingdom of Denmark (Self-Rule Act). A new era of self-rule came into effect in June 2009. The self-rule agreement gives Greenlanders the right to self-determination and more control over its natural reserves, as well as making Greenlandic the official language.