THU: 12º/5º FRI: 15º/3º
Queen’s award for Bahraini king a ‘misunderstanding’
In light of the Royal Family’s February decision to award the king of Bahrain with the second highest royal order, the Storkors, it has been decided that the government must be consulted prior to future awards.
Evidence obtained by Berlingske newspaper reveal that the Foreign Ministry will work with the Royal Family to determine who should be the recipient of such awards in the future in order to prevent “misunderstandings”.
The admission was made in a letter from the foreign minister, Lene Espersen, to Socialist People’s Party (SF) human rights spokesperson Kamal Qureshi.
SF, which had requested a comment from the Foreign Ministry in February after the award was given, is pleased with the change in policy.
“The answer is a clear admission from the Foreign Ministry that the current practice has led to the distribution of awards that are contrary to Danish values,” Qureshi said.
The Grand Cross of Dannebrog was given to King Khalifa a month before a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in the Gulf oil state, assisted by Saudi security forces. While the extent to which the government was complicit in choosing King Khalifa for the award is not known, experts believe the new policy shows that the government is taking more responsibility for the actions of the Royal Family.
Despite the change of policy, the government is still trying to downplay the role of such awards as unpolitical, with the prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, stating that Denmark’s foreign policy is not guided by awards.