The Transformation of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

September 19, 2010

H/T to John Brown’s Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review

On the Finnish MFA website there is a transcript of a speech by Claus Grube of the Danish foreign ministry given at a seminar on 40 years of diplomatic training .

Given the comments that I’ve been making on the development of the FCO I was struck by a couple of  points.

40 years ago the foreign service of a Scandinavian country was still primarily focused on its bilateral relations. We were at that time still adapting to the challenges and possibilities of the new multilateral structure created after the Second World War. Today the balance has changed. And although we – as mentioned before – right now are experiencing unrest and disorder in the multilateral structure this fundamental change will not be reversed…

…For countries like Finland and Denmark that are members of the EU the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the Union is now our main channel for influence in the world…

…as the Union is a global actor we have also been forced to have a global perspective in our foreign policy that would have been inconceivable four decades ago. In 1970 Denmark did not have an East Timor policy. We have today.

An element of the response to this is a reorganization of the ministry

The central element in the reorganization was a change from a vertical pillar-structure concentrated around a geographical division with a North- and a South-group to a more thematic and functional defined and much more horizontal organization with 11 centers.

When we decided to change the pillar-structure it was also with the wish to try to create a more unified organization breaking once and for all with the culture and traditions of the old semi-independent parts of the ministry


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