Denmark ‘building bridges’ in the UK

Europe minister was in London yesterday for meetings with UK government to discuss the troubles and reinforce relationship with Euro-skeptic nation

The Europe minister, Nicolai Wammen (Socialdemokraterne), is on a two day trip to London and Dublin to strengthen ties between the countries.

WammenÂ’s visits will see him meeting with cabinet members in the UK and the Republic of Ireland as well as a range of experts.

”The EU is facing some of its greatest challenges since it was established, and to a great extent I see our presidency as a question of building bridges and creating the foundation for the necessary compromises,” Wammen wrote in a press release ahead of his departure.

The main focus of the meetings will be joint efforts to increase growth and employment across Europe, issues which Denmark is essentially responsible for as EU president until the end of June.

In London yesterday, Wammen also met with former UK prime minister Tony Blair to discuss these issues.

”I had a very good meeting with Tony Blair, in which we discussed the Danish EU presidency and ways of increasing growth and employment in Europe. As prime minister, Blair also had a difficult presidency in 2005 so it was very useful to hear his experiences and good advice about the best way of promoting our key issues during the Danish presidency.”

The proposed EU fiscal compact treaty, which outlines stricter financial guidelines for member states, was also discussed at the meetings.

The UK is one of a handful of EU countries which has opted to stay outside of the new treaty out of fears that it will affect their national interests. The government in London, in particular is concerned about the damage it could do the country’s lucrative financial sector.

David Lidington, the UK Europe minister, also stressed the importance for strengthening EuropeÂ’s economy after his meeting with Wammen yesterday and defended the British decision to stay outside of the treaty.

“We are one of the most positive EU countries,” Lidington told Politiken newspaper, adding. ”I am sure that if you look at the other countries sitting around the negotiation table at EU meetings, there will be plenty of countries that are fighting just as hard for their national position as the UK.”

The UK is also currently fighting against the introduction of a financial transaction tax (FTT) which is being supported by many of the core EU members such as France and Germany.

Denmark, however, is currently in the same camp as the UK, with economy minister Margrethe Vestager repeatedly expressing the potential damage an FTT could have on European economies in terms of lost jobs and growth.

Other issues discussed at the meetings included further development of the single market as well as moving EuropeÂ’s energy production toward a green and sustainable alternatives.