The strategy follows from the extensive 2016 review of Denmark’s foreign policy and covers all areas of the government’s foreign policy work. The strategy was presented by Minister for Foreign Affairs Anders Samuelsen and Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs.
“The world looks very different compared to only three or four years ago – or, in fact, even just one year ago. In many respects, life has improved for many, but there are also many areas where we are moving in the wrong direction: freedom and free trade is under threat, migration is challenging Europe’s stability, authoritarian forces are gaining power and international cooperation is being questioned.
Therefore it is good that we now have this strategy, in which the government defines the issues of critical importance to Denmark and Danish interests in the years 2017 and 2018. We will also be dedicating more resources in the coming years to address these very issues. In short, the goal is less terror, more freedom and more free trade,” says Anders Samuelsen.
The strategy identifies five main challenges in the coming years: Migration, instability and terrorism; Security in Denmark and the surrounding region; Brexit and the future of the EU; Seizing the opportunities of globalisation; and The Arctic.
The government’s efforts in these areas will augment Denmark’s ongoing foreign and security policy efforts in bilateral and multilateral arenas.
“The world has grown more uncertain with Russia’s aggressive course, Brexit and the new positions of the United States on a number of issues. Denmark must therefore take responsibility. The government proposes that we take responsibility through measures such as increasing defence spending, counteracting Russian cyber warfare and intensifying our efforts in neighbouring areas to conflict and crisis zones. We are also adding resources to secure a good result for Denmark in the Brexit negotiations. And we are dedicating increased resources to improving Denmark’s capacity to seize the economic opportunities of globalisation; this includes opening two new Consulates General” says Anders Samuelsen.
The influx of migrants towards Europe in recent years has put migration high on the agenda in Denmark’s foreign and security policy. Migration is a complex challenge and thus the solutions are also manifold – from better control of the EU’s external border, to stronger efforts to ensure the repatriation of rejected asylum seekers and combating the root causes of migration. The government will allocate unused funds previously earmarked for refugee reception in Denmark to strengthen its efforts in neighbouring areas to conflict zones and humanitarian crises, thereby reducing the future flow of refugees and migrants.
“Development policy is an important tool for giving people hope for a future in their home country, and thus reducing the future flow of refugees and migrants. Denmark can make a difference with efforts such as those to strengthen women’s rights, which in turn helps to curb population growth. We can make a difference by improving educational opportunities for young people and by creating jobs. The government is ready to actively implement its development policy to promote the repatriation of rejected asylum seekers according to a quid pro quo principle – if a country cooperates by allowing the return of rejected asylum seekers, we are prepared to increase our cooperation, and conversely, it will also have consequences for countries that choose not to cooperate,” says Minister for Development Cooperation Ulla Tørnæs.
The strategy was prepared by the government with the involvement of all ministries that engage in international activities. The government will host various events in the run-up to a debate in the Danish Parliament during the autumn of 2017.
Fact sheets on the Danish government’s initiatives on the five main themes in the foreign and security policy strategy for 2017-18
For more information, contact:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (Anders Samuelsen): Press Advisor Lars Peter Levy, tel. +45 41904124, and Anne Møller Ege, tel. +45 41532526
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (Ulla Tørnæs): Special Advisor Marianne Lynghøj Pedersen, tel. +45 42485158