Denmark to reopen embassy in PH

Posted at 01/17/14 4:41 PM

MANILA – Denmark is set to reopen its embassy in the Philippines, recognizing the Southeast Asian nation's booming economy.

On its website, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark said it will launch several reforms in its foreign service, including the opening of embassies in the Philippines, Nigeria, , Colombia and Myanmar and a Trade Council in Lagos, Nigeria.

"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," Minister for Foreign Affairs Holger K. Nielsen said.

Nielsen said the changes to the Embassy structure will give Denmark direct access to over 300 million more people and consumers in three continents, including in important emerging markets.

"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," he said.

Denmark's Minister for Development Cooperation Rasmus Helveg Petersen also underscored the importance for Denmark of improving diplomatic ties with countries "where growth rates are high."

"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," Petersen said.

Petersen said the Danish government wants for the Embassies to be used to help Danish companies in selling their goods.

Denmark is also set to open an embassy in Myanmar "with a view to supporting the positive democratization and reform process of the country."

It also seeks to strengthen its efforts in emerging markets such as China, Southern Africa, Turkey, Peru, Erbil in Iraq, and important European Union decision-making centers Belgium, Germany, France and United Kingdom.

However, "in order to find room in the budget to open and strengthen some places," Denmark it will close its Missions in Cyprus, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Milan (Trade Council) and in Libya.

Likewise, the Representative Office in Niger will be phased out, with the Embassy in Burkina Faso assuming the country program

"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," Nielsen said.

The ministry said the reform will enter into force generally on August 1 this year, "but there will be a few exceptions."

The Danish Embassy in Manila previously ceased its operations in 2012, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs, which also confirmed the move by the Danish government.

The DFA said the Philippines-Denmark bilateral relations, established in 1946, are very cordial and enjoy strong relations in the maritime sector.

It said there are over 5,000 Filipino seafarers working on board Danish-managed, -operated, or –owned vessels.

There are also 10,500 Filipinos based in Denmark mostly working as "au pairs" or in the service industry.

Bilateral trade with Denmark in 2012 registered at US$107 million, the DFA added.