|People swimming in a canal in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, outside the seat of the Danish Parliament, Christiansborg Palace. — Photo politiken.dk
(VNS) Danes will celebrate their Constitution Day today. To mark the occasion, the country's ambassador to Viet Nam, John Nielsen, writes to the Viet Nam News
The fifth of June is Danish Constitution Day. In all cor-ners of Denmark the Constitution will be celebrated through speeches by the leaders of the main political parties.
The reason for this is that the Constitution is the foundation of democratic society in Denmark and provides politicians and other citizens with rights to free speech, to disagree, to have a democratic voice and a vote in relation to the further development of society.
This is not a given right, but we believe that it is vital that citizens are engaged and actively participate in public debate and the development of new laws and future society.
Viet Nam and Denmark have a long and strong partnership. In 1971, Denmark was among the first countries in the West to recognise the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam, and in 2011 we celebrated the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries.
Since 1994, Denmark has provided Viet Nam with more than US$1.3 billion in development assistance and through this support contributed to the strong economic development and growth which has taken place in Viet Nam.
In 2013, the Danish Embassy will disbursing about $50 million to Viet Nam to support water and sanitation development, green growth, business development, and judiciary and administrative reforms.
Viet Nam became a middle- income country in 2011 and Denmark has decided to phase out development assistance. During the last 40 years, strong ties have developed between the Vietnamese and the Danish governments, between business partners, artists, athletes, and not least between ordinary people.
Against this background, Viet Nam and Denmark are now building a new and even stronger strategic partnership based on political dialogue, with a strong focus on increasing commercial relations and embracing culture and civil society issues.
Cultural activities are expanding and many Danish artists and athletes have visited Viet Nam while Vietnamese artists have performed in Denmark, some of them supported through the Danish Cultural Programme.
Tourism is also growing rapidly. Denmark and our capital Copenhagen, located in the heart of Scandinavia, is known around the world for design, architecture, world-class restaurants, a vibrant cultural scene, innovation, smiling people, cycling, green cities and clean air.
Commercial relations between Denmark and Viet Nam have grown continuously over the last few years. Notwithstanding current macro-economic challenges, Viet Nam is seen as a very interesting potential market by numerous Danish companies, especially within the Green Growth area and clean tech industry, where Danish companies have unique competencies and strongholds that match the challenges Viet Nam is now facing.
There is also interest in other areas, including furniture and design, the machine industry, and the electronics sector. I am confident that in the near future we will see more Danish companies investing in Viet Nam.
And Vietnamese companies are investing in Denmark as well. The World Bank recently ranked Denmark as one of the easiest countries in the world – and the easiest country in Europe – to do business in.
Many companies make use of this great opportunity and I hope even more will do so in the future. When it comes to business, Denmark is indeed a gateway to Scandinavia and the EU.
It is a small country with a population of only 5.6 million people. A nation of happy people – in fact the happiest people in the world according to an OECD survey.
A small nation must be a first mover to compete and indeed we have been a first mover when turning our economy into a green economy. Through the last three decades Denmark's GDP has increased more than 80 per cent while keeping the energy consumption at the same level as 30 years ago.
Denmark is truly a green nation with unique strongholds and competencies in this field. In 2012, renewable energy – solar, water and wind energy – covered almost 40 per cent of the electricity consumption and almost 25 per cent of the total energy consumption in Denmark.
On top of this, Copenhagen plans to become the first carbon neutral capital in the world in 2025.
The scenes that often come to mind when people think of Denmark are green fields and forests, solar and wind energy, clean air and the clean water you drink from the tap, democracy, diversity and freedom of speech.
We are also known for our outreach and strong partnerships with other countries. We intend to forge a stronger partnership with Viet Nam in these areas in coming years.
Meet the Danish Embassy in Viet Nam on Facebook www.facebook.com/dkvietnam. — VNS