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US ambassador quizzed on Danish-US relationship at Copenhagen Union meeting
Denmark is not just a ‘yes’ country, when it comes to following US foreign policy.
This is just one of the conclusions that can be drawn from a meeting held with the United States ambassador in Denmark, Ms Laurie Fulton, at the Studenterhuset Wednesday.
Sometimes Denmark is seen as a ‘yes’ country at a diplomatic level, answering positively to whatever USA asks them. But this is not right according to the ambassador.
Denmark is a competent and reliable ally since Denmark is easy to cooperate with. It does things in a way that works well with the US, she pointed out. Ms Fulton concluded with a simple explanation:
»We are good together because we share common values on what the world should be,« she said.
The event was organized by the Copenhagen Union, the student-led debating society for students at the University of Copenhagen. Ms Fulton happens to have Danish ancestors, and has been in her position in Copenhagen for the last 3 years.
She highlighted the strategic importance that Denmark has for the US. Both the former and the current Danish Prime Ministers visited the White House within the last year.
A key issue in the American-Danish partnership is the military collaboration and the presence of Danish armed forces in the wars of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, something that the US is really thankful for, she said.
The ambassador pointed to the professionalism and skills of Danish soldiers: »During the international intervention in Libya, Danish fighter pilots were received as heroes by their partners in the coalition« she commented.
Denmark and USA share membership in NATO, where Denmark took the lead to develop a programme named ‘Smart Defence’ that seeks the shared development, purchase and maintenance of warfare materials between NATO members. The US supports this initiative that came up after last year’s intervention in Libya, she said.
As for the economy, Ms Fulton commented that the US and Europe by themselves generate half of the world’s GDP, so trade over the Atlantic is vital for global economy, for the USA and Europe, and in both directions.
Things are on the right track to overcome the current financial crisis. »However,« she said,»in Europe, each country is different, and solutions must be different for each country. It is important to save the Euro and rescue Greece.«
For the US, the longer term perspective is to lead the world for a long time despite the astonishing growth of China. This is the time for Europe to find common ground with USA and to increase trade, she commented, for example by lowering trade barriers, matching regulations, and sharing production standards.
For Denmark, the US is the main outside-EU trading partner, just ahead of China. A good example of this is the presence of key American companies (actually round 60 of them) in Denmark, including Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Motorola, Google, Cisco and DuPont.
Talking about the European economy and the debt crisis, it now seems to be solved, she said.
The private sector is experiencing growth, whereas the public sector is still suffering cutbacks. She described the future as a slow uphill. From her point of view, the biggest achievement up to now is the recovery of consumer’s confidence on the market. However, the US shares a problem with Europe:
The younger generation facing a grey future regarding employment.
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