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New Danish Embassies will provide access to 300 million more people than at present

16.01.2014  18:53
Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark launches the largest reform and modernisation of the Danish Foreign Service in recent times.

Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark launches the largest reform and modernisation of the Danish Foreign Service in recent times. The focus is on an adjustment of the network of Danish Missions abroad, and it implies that our presence in more than 25 countries will be adjusted. The key elements of the reform are that Denmark will open Embassies in Nigeria, the Philippines, Colombia and Myanmar/Burma and a Trade Council in Lagos, Nigeria. As a consequence of this, the Government will close a number of Missions, especially in Europe. Furthermore, the Danish presence will be strengthened in e.g. several emerging countries and EU decision-making centres, just as our presence will be reduced in other places.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Holger K. Nielsen states:

“Global power balances are changing, and economic growth takes place in other places today and tomorrow than was the case yesterday. That is why we are opening new Embassies and strengthening our presence where we will benefit most from it – politically and economically.

But we do not have unlimited resources at our disposal and, like all others, the Government must make tough choices.  Therefore, we will cut costs in some places to be able to afford strengthening other places.

Today’s reform is the largest in recent times. The changes to the Embassy structure will all in all give Denmark direct access to over 300 million more people and consumers than at present – distributed throughout three continents - including important emerging markets. We will open Missions in regions and countries where economic growth is booming, where there is a huge potential - and where the economic power shift is accompanied by increased political clout. This applies to countries such as Nigeria, the Philippines and Colombia. And then we will open an Embassy in Myanmar – e.g. with a view to supporting the positive democratisation and reform process of the country.

In our neighbourhood, we prioritise in particular the effort in the EU decision-making centres. The EU is an altogether crucial political platform for pursuing Danish interests – and that is why we must promote Danish viewpoints even more strongly in, for example, Brussels and Berlin.

In order to find room in the budget to open and strengthen some places, we also need to close and cut costs in a number of other places. It is a tough and difficult decision to close Missions. It affects both the Embassy’s users and staff. However, in the places where Missions will be closed, primarily in Europe, we will find new and different ways to cooperate with the countries concerned and to promote Danish interests. But it will be in another and less intense manner.

All in all, we will now become sharper on where and how we represent Danish interests, and I am very pleased with that. As a small country with an open economy we need to focus on the political and economic bottom line at all times in order to obtain maximum foreign policy value for money and create maximum value for Denmark. In brief, the bottom line is: “More focus on the World, less on Europe – and more on the EU”.”

Minister for Trade and European Affairs Nick Hækkerup states:

“It is of enormous interest to Denmark as a society that we open new Embassies in places where growth rates are high. Every time Danish companies export to the tune of DKK 1 billion, it means, all other things being equal, that a total of 600-700 new jobs will be created in Denmark. Also with regard to our Embassies, we need to think innovatively. The Government and I want the Embassies to be used to an even greater extent to help Danish companies sell their goods throughout the world. It is not least this aspect that is pivotal to the modernisation reform”.

Minister for Development Cooperation Rasmus Helveg Petersen states:

“The opening of a Danish Embassy in Myanmar underlines Danish support for the Burmese Spring and the country’s giant leap towards democracy and human rights. We sharpen the focus on helping the country’s poorest to benefit from the positive development. And we strengthen Danish interests, and not least the opportunities of Danish companies to set up in business in Myanmar with a population of 55 million people.”


Background
The key elements set out below constitute a summary of the reform of the Mission structure:

  • Embassies will be opened in Nigeria, Colombia, the Philippines and Myanmar/Burma, as well as a Trade Council in Lagos, Nigeria.
  • Efforts will be strengthened in emerging markets such as China, Southern Africa, Turkey, Peru, as well as Erbil in Iraq. Furthermore, efforts will be strengthened in the most important EU decision-making centres (Brussels, Berlin, Paris, and London). And lastly, more resources will be earmarked for Arctic-related activities.
  • Missions will be closed in Cyprus, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Milan (Trade Council) and in Libya.
  • Furthermore, the Representative Office in Niger will be phased out (with the Embassy in Burkina Faso assuming the country programme). At the same time, a number of other Embassies throughout the world will be affected by a reduction or abolition of positions, just as the Embassy in Afghanistan will be reduced in the years ahead.

The reform will enter into force generally on 1 August 2014, but there will be a few exceptions.

A list of the total number of adjustments and fact sheets are available here: http://repraesentationer.um.dk

For further information, please contact:
Special Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Henrik Røjgaard, phone: +4520461463
Press Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Lars Peter Levy, phone: +45 41904124
Special Adviser to the Minister for Trade and European Affairs Søren Lippert, phone: +4523230003
Special Adviser to the Minister for Development Cooperation Thomas Hundsbæk, phone: +45 41865900