Foreign Ministry changing course

Government focusing attention away from the EU and towards emerging markets

September 19th, 2012 10:38 am| by admin
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The four top ministers within the Foreign Ministry are calling for a reorganisation of the Danish assignments abroad.

The ministers want greater focus on high-priority markets like China, India and Brazil and less on Denmark’s EU neighbours.

“In a rapidly changing world we must constantly ask ourselves whether we are focusing on the right places and in the right way,” Villy Søvndal, the foreign minister (Socialistisk Folkeparti), to Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Along with new export markets, the ministry’s list of new priorities includes the Arctic, human rights and green growth.

Søvndal stressed that the restructuring does not necessarily mean that Denmark will be closing any embassies.

The European minister, Nicolai Wammen (Socialdemokraterne), said the goal is to make sure that tax money is being used in the most effective manner possible. The other two ministers within the Foreign Ministry – the trade minister, Pia Olsen Dyhr (Socialistisk Folkeparti), and the development minister, Christian Friis Bach (Radikale) – agreed with Søvndal and Wammen that permanent changes should be considered.

Opposition party Venstre (V) recently criticised the government’s foreign policy as having “four ministers but no direction”.

Søren Pind, V's foreign affairs spokesperson, said that Denmark lacked representation in major emerging markets.

“It would shock many Danes to know that there are only two employees working at our embassy in Brazil,” Pind told Berlingske Nyhedsbureau. “It is absurd – we are talking about one of the world's largest emerging markets.”

Pind said it was vital that a small country like Denmark be represented in the right places.

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