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Important cooperation with the EU and Europe’s neighbouring countries  

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European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Photo: Colourbox

On the European track, the Danish development policy priorities were a part of the ambitious agenda during the Danish EU Presidency in spring 2012, during which the EU’s new development policy, “Agenda for Change”, was adopted. With its new policy for development, the EU strengthened its role as an international development actor and significant focus was placed on the importance of increased cohesion between policies to the benefit of the world’s poor. In the future, the EU will concentrate its grant-based development assistance in places where it will do the most good and where the impact will be the greatest. This also means that the relationships with countries experiencing rapid economic growth – and which have made major progress in development – will move in the direction of aligned and strategic partnerships, with a greater focus on addressing joint interests and challenges.

With regard to Europe’s eastern neighbours, a new strategy for the Danish Neighbourhood Programme is being prepared for 2013-2017 with a focus on human rights and democracy along with sustainable and inclusive economic development. The new strategy was formulated on the basis of an extremely positive evaluation of the programme’s economic initiatives as well as a broad public dialogue about the priorities of the programme. The strategy limits the geographic focus to seven priority countries: Belarus, the Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. In addition to these priority countries, there are also regional and thematic programmes in which other countries in the region participate. The new strategy will be presented by the Minister for European Affairs and the Minister for Development Cooperation in spring 2013.

In light of the Arab Spring, the Government strengthened the Partnership for Dialogue and Reform. The Partnership for Dialogue and Reform has a double overall purpose: to promote reforms and democratisation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and to promote dialogue, mutual understanding and cooperation between Denmark and the MENA region. In addition to the work of democratisation, reforms and civil society, the efforts for promoting economic development and job creation were also strengthened in order to contribute to a consolidation of reforms and democratisation.