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Udenrigsministerens åbning af TechPlomacy-session ved Digitalt Topmøde

Welcome everybody to our session on TechPlomacy and Denmark’s engagement in a digital world order. I am truly glad to have all of you join our discussion today.

I am an optimist.
New technology is a driver of positive change. It provides smarter solutions and new business opportunities. That is positive.
But at the same time we shouldn’t be blind to the risks. As a small, open economy, we have more at stake than any other country.

Two years ago, we elevated technology to a foreign policy priority. We launched the TechPlomacy Initiative. We appointed the world’s first Tech-Ambassador. And we established a global tech representation.
TechPlomacy has two core functions: (1) Direct promotion of Danish interests towards the tech-industry and (2) serving as a global framework for cooperation and new foreign policy alliances on tech-issues.
To promote Danish interests, we now have a direct dialogue with the headquarters of global tech-giants such as Apple, Microsoft and Alibaba.
This access is useful when we need social media platforms to remove terrorist content online quickly – as in the case with the horrible terror incident in Morocco in December. Or when we need to discuss with Facebook how to avoid a new Cambridge Analytica case. That is promotion of Danish interests in a very concrete manner.

The other main purpose of TechPlomacy is to build new foreign policy alliances and international cooperation on tech issues. Why is this important? Because we need to safeguard our core values – democracy, human rights and rules-based international cooperation.
Of course, Denmark is too small to do that alone. We need to partner with like-minded governments and companies. That is why we work on a new coalition of countries and tech-companies. A coalition that promotes a responsible framework for technological development. We want to shape the digital world order by pulling in the right direction.

What is the right direction? My vision is three-fold:
First, we need to promote our digital security. Cyber is the new battlefield. Online terror flourishes. And foreign entities seek to undermine our democracy through disinformation campaigns.
Second, we need protection of our individual rights and freedoms on the internet. Privacy and data protection is more relevant than ever. But also in a broader sense, this is about our values and democratic institutions. Europe and Denmark should continue to be at the forefront of this agenda.
Third, we need to embrace the benefits of technology by building an innovative digital economy. We need a ‘light, but right touch’ approach to regulation.
In all three areas, governments have an important role to play, but the tech industry also has a responsibility.

We need to link domestic initiatives with our international engagement. We do that through the Government’s cyber security strategy, our Digital Growth Strategy and the new AI Strategy announced today. And we do it through Denmark’s Innovation and Research Policy. And last but not least: Through a closer dialogue between the government and the private sector.
In today’s discussion, I look forward to getting input to how TechPlomacy can best serve Denmark in the digital age. I want to use this opportunity to learn more about, where you see a potential for Denmark, what we should work for and how we can get there?

Thank you!