On May 3, 2017, the Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen visited Switzerland and discussed foreign policy with a focus on technology, digitalization and trade. The event «Meet the Danish Foreign Minister» was organized by foraus, an important Swiss think tank on foreign affairs. Anders Samuelsen touched on many issues that are also of concern to digitalswitzerland. Below, I will give you a short summary of some of his insights.

On digitalization and globalisation

Samuelsen addressed the “difficult situation” that digital transformation and globalization is bringing to the world. In the last few months and years, populists have been seeing a lot of upwind with their calls for closing borders and raising trade taxes. However, Samuelsen pointed out:

“The problem for people is not globalization, but not being part of it.”

Anders Samuelsen admitted that many people are afraid of tomorrow and that they are worried if they will still be part of society as they are today.

“The new world is very scary for some people. But populism is the wrong answer, because it is just a simple answer without recognizing the consequences.”

On the soon to be announced Danish tech ambassador

The audience asked Andersen about Denmark’s plan to put in place a tech ambassador.

“As foreign minister I am not only dealing with other states anymore, but also with big companies. For example, if you want to stop ISIL from recruiting via social platforms, you need to have Twitter and Facebook at the table.”

“Data protection is another area where states need to work together with big technology companies in order to protect the data of their citizens.

On entrepreneurial spirit

In the last few years, Andersen noted a change in the Danish culture concerning entrepreneurship and startups.

“So far the upbringing was different. The Law of Jante was omnipresent in Danish households. Individual success was not approved of and all emphasis was placed on the collective. This is changing now and it’s fine to be a success. The culture is changing: If you have success as an individual, you can bring the country forward in creating jobs.”

Finally, Andersen stated the goal and mission for Denmark’s economy, which is similar to the one digitalswitzerland has for Switzerland.

“We need to create an attractive environment and framework to get the next LEGO in Denmark.”

Photo Credit: foraus

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About Daniel Scherrer

Head of Comms @digitalswitzerland

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