Anne Birgitte Lundholt, Ritt Bjerregaard, Uffe Elleman-Jensen and two other export ambassadors received today a disappointing call from trade and investment minister Pia Olsen Dyhr, Denmark. They all lost their job within 30 minutes.
Ritt Bjerregaard managed to get five months to promote Danish exports in China, while Uffe Elleman-Jensen had only a few months of his assignment in India. Anne Birgitte Lundholt was in charge of export promotion between Vietnam and Denmark.
Resolution releases great disappointment
Although Ritt Bjerregaard, a former minister, EU commissioner and mayor, understands that a new government should not necessarily follow its predecessor’s ideas, she is clearly disappointed with the decision, which she describes as wrong and shortsighted.
She explains that she played an important role for Danish companies in her country of responsibility, China.
“When companies have run into difficulties, I have been able to get through to the local mayor and clear away any misunderstandings. And when there has been a push by many Danish companies, I have been able to contribute that they had access to the Chinese who took the decisions, “she says.
Anne Birgitte Lundholt says the same about her efforts related to Vietnam.
Also former foreign minister and chairman of the centre liberal party, Venstre, Uffe Elleman-Jensen, is annoyed with the decommissioning of the scheme. He points out that India is an important market for Danish exports in the future.
“India is one of the countries in the world that are growing most at the moment and where less than half a per cent of Danish exports go. Sweden and Germany roar ahead, while Denmark has lost market share out there, so there really is a need for a special effort,” he says.
Government: It was not efficient enough
The five Danish export ambassadors were hired by the former Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen (V), and the intention was that they were to sell Denmark in the so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Besides Ritt Bjerregaard and Uffe Elleman-Jensen, who had, respectively, China and India as their responsibly, Henning Dyremose was responsible for Brazil, Marian Fischer Boel for Russia, while Anne Birgitte Lundholt was responsible for the new promising Vietnamese market.
The reason for dismissal, according to trade and investment minister Pia Olsen Dyhr (SF), is that the structure behind the concept is not efficient enough to increase exports to the BRIC countries. The government saved 18 million Danish kroner in 30 minutes.