France and Denmark

Political relations and latest visits

Franco-Danish political relations are old-standing, sustained and marked by confidence. The two countries are mutually important partners, both as allies and as European Union Member States. In addition, their analyses converge on many international policy issues (peacekeeping, interest in preventive actions in Africa, primacy of international law, environment).

Ms Thorning-Schmidt, the Danish Prime Minister, met with the President of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, on 20February 2012 in Paris. She met the French President François Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault in Paris on 5December 2012. The latter visited Copenhagen on 21October 2013, with the French Minister of Foreign Trade and the French Minister Delegate for European Affairs. Prime Minister Manuel Valls also visited Copenhagen on 28November 2014, where he met with MsThorning-Schmidt and the ministers of economy and climate.

MsThorning-Schmidt, together with the Minister of Defence NicolaiWammen and the Minister of Justice, MsMetteFrederiksen, joined the republican march in Paris on 11January2015. The French Minister of the Interior, the Minister Delegate for European Affairs and the Mayor of Paris visited Copenhagen on 15 and 16 February 2015, immediately after the shootings in the Danish capital.

The Foreign Ministers of both countries meet on a regular basis. MartinLidegaard met Laurent Fabius in Paris on 14February 2014. The two Ministers made a joint visit to Greenland in March2015 as part of the preparation for COP 21. Mr Harlem Désir visited Copenhagen on 10October 2014 where he met MartinLidegaard. The Danish Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen met LaurentFabius in Paris on 3September2015.

Queen Margrethe II also regularly makes private visits to France as Prince Consort Henrik is of French origin. Margrethe II met with the French President in November2007 and with the Prime Ministers in October2013 and November2014. She also attended the 70th Anniversary Ceremonies of the Normandy Landings on 6June2014.

Economic relations

Our trade deficit with Denmark widened again in the first half of 2014. Whereas the French Customs posted a €57 million trade surplus in 2013, the first half of 2014 showed a deficit (€99 million). French exports to Denmark are decreasing slightly while imports continue to increase. France has lost a place and become Denmark’s 10th-largest supplier behind the United States, but remains in seventh position among Denmark’s customers.

France remains an attractive country for Danish investors and Denmark is in 12th position among foreign investors in France ahead of Sweden (13th) and Norway (20th), according to the Banque de France. The stock of direct investment in France totalled €5.4billion in 2014 (0.9% of total FDI stocks held in France). There are 165 Danish companies in France where they employ around 50,000 people. The ISS Group (integrated services) is the leading foreign employer in France (35,000 employees), followed by Carlsberg (1800), the Danfoss Group, DSV and the Velux Group with 1000 each. Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, energy and environment, and furniture are the three main sectors of activity represented.

French investment in Denmark is less significant. The French direct investment stock in Denmark has been decreasing steadily since 2005 and was estimated to be €793 billion in 2011, or 0.08% of the total stock of French investment made abroad. France, however, remains the ninth largest foreign investor in Denmark after Japan. Almost 210 French businesses have been identified in Denmark, including Saint-Gobain (2400 employees), Keolis (1100) and Schneider Electric (1000). They account for 16,000 jobs and more than €3billion of total turnover. French companies have participated in most of the major Danish road infrastructure projects (Great Belt Fixed Link and Øresund Fixed Link) and in important projects in the energy and transport sectors, and they have a keen interest in the numerous future projects in the transport sector.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

France is the leading destination for Danish tourists. France also works to promote and modernize the image of the French language in Denmark by targeting specialist higher education institutions and professional sectors. France is the seventh largest destination for Danish students (262 in 2009-2010).

Scientific cooperation between our two countries covers all areas of excellence in Danish research (environment, micro and nano engineering, health, ICT, surveys and studies on Greenland). It is implemented mainly through relations between the various French and Danish research centres as, for example, with the signing of a Partnership Agreement in 2006 between the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF). There is significant researcher mobility between the two countries: more than 400 CNRS researchers went on a mission to Denmark in 2008.

Other cooperation

Military cooperation

Franco-Danish military cooperation in the field of crisis management developed in 2011 in Libya and has been developing for several years now in the Balkans through the deployment of a Danish contingent under French operational command in Albania: operation Alba in 1997 and operation Allied Harbour in 1999; 188 Danish military personnel are stationed in Kosovo under French command (KFOR). Actions to develop interoperability are also carried out (meetings on maritime surveillance and amphibious capabilities, increasing the overall number of Danish trainee officers). The refocusing of Denmark’s African policy (interdependence of security and development aid) has enabled several cooperation programmes with France, such as regular participation in RECAMP exercises (RECAMP programme for the Reinforcement of African Peacekeeping Capabilities).

This active cooperation on the ground (in Kosovo, Libya, Mali, etc.) led to the signing of a letter of intent on 18June 2014 in Paris, to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two Defence Ministers, MrLeDrian and MrWammen.

Updated: 21/03/2016