English › News › Speech by Ms Pia Kjærsgaard given at the New Year’s reception for the diplomatic
Ms. Doyen, Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemenI am very pleased to welcome you to the annual New Year’s reception for the diplomatic corps.
Since I became Speaker of the Danish Parliament last year, I have already had the pleasure of meeting some of you. We have had some very interesting talks and I would like to thank you for that.
I intend to keep the tradition of a close dialogue between the Danish Parliament and the diplomatic corps.
Personally, it will be of great importance for me to meet members of the diplomatic corps. It is a unique opportunity to follow events in the countries represented in Copenhagen and to discuss the relationship between our countries.
As Speaker of Parliament my first priority is to give the best service to all Members of Parliament. I will ensure the smooth running of the work in Parliament.
Looking abroad, I think it is very important with strong cooperation between the Danish Parliament and other Parliaments in Europe as well as in other parts of the world.
The national Parliaments have a strong democratic mandate. Therefore they can also play an important role internationally. Parliaments should be the role model of democracy – a show case for democratic debate and dialogue, the protection of minority rights and the cornerstone of fair and just laws.
The year 2015 was dominated by a number of tragic events.
We have witnessed an escalation of the civil war in Syria and the arrival of an increasing number of refugees and migrants worldwide.
Unfortunately, 2015 was also a year in which we experienced horrible terror attacks. Each attack gruesome and barbaric.
Also Denmark and our Jewish society were hit by terror incidents almost a year ago counting from today.
Not even two weeks into 2016 we have already been hit by new terror attacks.
– I was shocked to learn about the attack in Istanbul earlier today. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims.
The terrorists want to undermine our democratic societies. They shall not succeed.
We must safeguard our basic values: Democracy, freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Democracy should never be taken for granted. Every new generation has to make a choice.
The last part of 2015 was a very busy period for the newly elected Folketing.
In December we had an important referendum on the Danish opt out on Justice and Home Affairs in the EU.
As you know the Danish voters voted “no” to amend the Danish opt out. I shall refrain from commenting on the result. However, as Speaker of the Danish Parliament, I was pleased to see that the voter turnout was so high, that is 72 pct.
It shows that despite the complexity of the issue on the agenda. The Danes support democracy and value their democratic rights. So the result may have been interpreted as a “No” to the EU, but I would rather interpret it as a “Yes” to democracy.
The Danes are still supporters of cooperation in Europe, but they also value their right to self-determination.
I also expect 2016 to be a busy year for the Danish Parliament.
In 2016, the Folketing will be chairing the cooperation in the Nordic Council. Issues like Nordic defence cooperation, health and tourism will be put right at the top of the agenda.
In November, the Folketing will host the annual session of the Nordic Council.
Let me finish by thanking you once more for the excellent cooperation so far and thank you for being here today.
I am very much looking forward to continuing our good cooperation in the New Year.
I wish all of you a Happy New Year!