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Distinguished speakers. Heads of communication. I have been looking very much forward to meeting you all today.
Communication remains a crucial factor in all aspects of Government, business and every day life. Therefore this seminar is both important and highly relevant.
In my speech today I will focus on the following three key points:
Firstly, globalisation – we must embrace new opportunities instead of focusing on threats or perceived threats.
Secondly, strong values matter – we need to set a firm example to inspire others.
And thirdly,Denmark’s brand – we are working hard to communicate our strengths.
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As we all know, we live in a globalised world. We all know the challenges and opportunities of globalisation. This is the world we live, work and act in every day.
Denmark forms an active part of the globalised world. The Danes not only live in the globalised world, they embrace it and take advantage of the opportunities presented to them. I will not hesitate and actually I am proud to say that Danes are the most globalisation positive population in the whole of Europe.
In fact, while the rest of Europe, in general, has grown more sceptical about globalisation during the last few years, the Danish population has become significantly more positive.
Much credit has to be given to our Globalisation Strategy. When we prepared the strategy an important part was a comprehensive public debate. I’m sure this has prepared the ground for the positive Danish attitude.
And this positive approach is an important precondition for international success in the world of today.
Denmark has a vital interest in influencing the international agenda. And we have an obligation to do so.
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The Danish society is built on strong values: Freedom. Democracy. And equal opportunities regardless of gender or social background.
We are proud of our welfare society. Our model has shown an ability to combine high living standards, low unemployment, a healthy economy and solid, extensive social security systems.
We have become well-known for our flexicurity and our low unemployment rate; actually the lowest unemployment rate in the EU – presently just over 1.5 percent.
We are also doing well when is comes to integration of immigrants. We are one of the countries in OECD which has seen the greatest increase in employment among people with foreign background.
We are highly competitive: Denmark has a strong and healthy economy. We have world-class enterprises. And according to the well-known magazine “The Economist” Denmark is the best place in the world to conduct business.
World Economic Forum likewise puts Denmark at the top, among the world’s most competitive nations.
Energy, environment, and climate are high on the agenda both in Denmark and internationally. And here Denmark has a lot to offer.
From 1980 to 2005 the Danish economy increased by approximately 70 per cent with hardly any increase in energy consumption. Our CO2 emissions have in the same period been reduced by 14 per cent. So we have demonstrated that you can combine fight against climate change with economic growth.
This is an example which has generated considerable international interest. And the “green” agenda will remain at the top of our list in light of the international climate change meeting in Copenhagen. This meeting provides a unique journalistic window of opportunity to showcase Denmark and Danish companies to the world.
So in all these vital areas Denmark has know-how and competitiveness. We are seeing significant results – which are of great value to Denmark and to the world. Therefore, Denmark has a lot to offer. And this – I’m sure – you can take advantage of in your international and commercial contacts.
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Now, does the world see Denmark in the same way? Do we have a strong brand?
According to international branding surveys Denmark is at level with the best brands in the world, if we are rated only by people with a personal knowledge of Denmark and Danes.
This is an interesting result. It is viewed on the background of the events some years ago, where Denmark was in an exposed position. To me it illustrates the importance of standing by your views. It sets our values in focus. It creates respect.
Obviously, the survey also points to a potential to improve our brand by increasing – and deepening - the world’s knowledge of Denmark. The more they know about us, the better they like us – this is what the survey tells us.
And we have a strong point of departure. We just need to show it. And of course knowledge of Denmark is limited in some places – which may have quite funny implications. Like when 6 per cent in a survey state that they are impressed by the Danish automobile industry – an industry that is pretty much non-existent in Denmark. So there is a need to enlighten the world.
And the international press is interested in the examples, where Denmark stands out. Here we have a lot to pick from – also in your companies and organisations. International press can be a good channel for branding.
* * *
I can assure you that the we, the Danish Government have taken up the challenge. Last year we initiated an Action Plan for the Global Marketing of Denmark.
In the plan we focus on five areas:
Firstly, marketing Denmark as a creative nation. We are a society built on a basis of creativity and we must use our creative brand to attract highly qualified labour.
Secondly, marketing Denmark as a study destination. We want to strengthen the free flow of knowledge. To attract the brightest international students to Denmark and we want them to stay as highly qualified labour.
Thirdly, Denmark as a tourist destination. The tourists, who have been here, are very content. And we want to expand tourism. The primary task is to expand Denmark’s international network.
Fourthly, Denmark as an investment location. We want to attract more foreign investments.
And fifthly, export promotion. We must promote Danish products and services also on the new and growing markets.
This action plan is intended to strengthen the knowledge and to create a clear and positive image of Denmark abroad.
* * *
International journalists have a growing interest in Denmark. This is a suggestive and positive result from the survey presented at the conference today. It confirms that the international press has sight of our competences. This is a situation we must benefit from.
We have a great number of highly qualified international journalists based in Denmark. They all remain challenging and competitive; as it should be.
Finally, please allow me to urge you all to use this meeting to network and create contacts for the benefit of yourselves and Denmark.
I wish you good luck with your international press strategies.
Thank you for your attention.