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Common ground in the multilateral cooperation

Strong EU cooperation in multilateral fora like the UN offers Denmark the opportunity to promote Danish development policy priorities. In areas where the EU and its Member States find consensus, international agendas can be pursued with great influence. In this respect, the EU’s common position on the post-2015 agenda is a good example. Here, the EU has adopted an ambitious position – e.g. in relation to the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls - due to efforts by Denmark and a group of like-minded countries.

Denmark will:

  • Work to ensure that the EU plays a central role in promoting global public goods by strengthening cooperation in the multilateral cooperation.
  • Use the EU cooperation and coordination as a lever for promoting Danish development policy priorities within, for example, the framework of the UN and the World Bank, but without disrupting the existing divisions of competence.
  • Seek to influence the funds that the European Commission channels to multilateral organisations.

Denmark will work to ensure that the EU reaches a realistic assessment of which issues can be tackled with success and on which issues it is too difficult to speak with one voice. There may be important areas where no consensus can be achieved on a sufficiently ambitious EU position. Therefore, in the specific case where Danish key priorities are at stake, Denmark will build on other alliances than with the EU. Denmark will work to improve the EU’s ability to build stronger relations with countries and organisations that promote multilateral solutions. This includes tapping the potential of alliances within the G77 group, as was seen in connection with the climate negotiations in Durban in 2011, or with the ACP countries, with which a common position was worked out ahead of Rio+20. In this context, it will also be important to keep EU Member States aware of their commitment to promote common EU positions that have been adopted.

Experience from the present work points to a variation in the breadth and depth of EU coordination – from relatively well-developed cooperation in some areas and with some multilateral organisations to significantly less developed cooperation in other constellations. It is a challenge that the EU as a structure is not compatible with a number of multilateral structures that are based on cooperation of nation states in historically defined cooperation and electoral groups. In certain instances, for example in relation to the operational UN organisations, strengthened EU cooperation will bring with it a potential loss of influence for the individual Member States. This calls for a cautious stance in these contexts. Denmark will thus generally seek to use EU cooperation and coordination as a lever for promoting Danish development policy priorities within the framework of the UN and the World Bank, etc., but without disrupting the existing divisions of competence.

A significant part of the development assistance to multilateral organisations is channelled through the EU, in which respect the European Commission in most cases is among the largest donors. The majority of the funds are earmarked, and Member States have traditionally had limited influence on which organisations and which areas the funds have been allocated to. Denmark will enhance its efforts to ensure that the EU funds are used in accordance with Danish priorities. Similarly, effort will be made to strengthen the local dialogue and coordination between the EU Delegations and multilateral actors in priority countries with the aim of increasing synergies between EU and multilateral activities.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark
Asiatisk Plads 2 
DK-1448 Copenhagen K
Tel. +45 33 92 00 00
Fax +45 32 54 05 33
[email protected]



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