The EU is a key platform and partner for Denmark in the field of development cooperation. Denmark has a clear interest in strong European cooperation in a world where global competition is becoming sharper and is challenging us at both the economic and the political level.
The EU’s Member States share values in a wide range of key areas. Denmark and the EU share the objectives of promoting democracy and human rights and alleviating poverty through sustainable and inclusive growth in close cooperation with the governments and citizens in the partner countries. Together, the EU and its Member States constitute the largest development and trade partner in the world. This gives Europe a strong position on the international arena. However, at the same time, the world is moving into a new era where the nature of development cooperation is changing. With the arrival of new actors on the development scene, an altered global poverty landscape and with changed financial streams, the framework for global development has also changed. It is generally a positive development, but it creates new challenges and new opportunities – which can best be handled together. Denmark has a stronger leverage when it uses the EU as a platform to address new challenges within global public goods such as the climate, the environment and security, and for its cooperation with middle-income countries.
Denmark wishes to focus its development policy efforts within the EU and strengthen the cooperation between EU Member States. This strategic framework establishes a foundation for Denmark’s action within EU development cooperation by laying out specific prioritised directions, joint approaches and instruments. Denmark must impact the EU’s development agenda to a greater extent with Danish development priorities and maximise the influence that its membership in and cooperation with the EU allows. Denmark will lead the way in ensuring that the EU positions itself as a relevant and significant global actor that can deliver results. A strong EU also means a strong Denmark in international development cooperation.
But Denmark also wishes to bring the EU cooperation into our own development policy in a more strategic way. This applies when Denmark develops policies, programmes development aid and carries out concrete activities, and it applies with regard to our cooperation with the Danish resource base. In this way, better advantage can be taken of the synergies between Danish and European development policies. Denmark must focus on those areas where Denmark can exert its influence in light of the political opportunities, and where Denmark can be a key agent of change. This means that Denmark must be conscious of areas in which the EU is able to adapt to the new framework conditions as well as be innovative in its approaches and where it is possible to move agendas. This also implies that Denmark shall be conscious of areas and issues where the EU and the Member States find it difficult to define common positions.
Today, relations with the world’s developing countries constitute a major part of Denmark’s and the EU’s foreign policy engagement. Therefore, it is of key importance for Denmark that development policy is not a marginal or an isolated part of the EU’s external relations, but is instead joined up with other policy areas and foreign policy instruments. In this way, a multifaceted, effective and flexible EU development and foreign policy can be ensured that delivers results which benefit the poorest people in the world.
This strategic framework will guide the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ ongoing work with EU development cooperation at both the political and the country level. The strategic framework runs from 2013 towards 2020. It will regularly be assessed whether the framework remains relevant for Denmark’s engagement.