At this year’s Spring Luncheon for Asian Ambassadors and Asia House Partners, Mr. Morten Løkkegaard, Member of the European Parliament representing Venstre (the Liberal Party), and Vice President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats, gave a key note speech on the present challenges facing Denmark, Europe and Asia.
Mr. Løkkegaard emphasized that Brexit, the UK wishing to leave the EU, was the sad result of so many miscalculations at the political level in the UK and so many British politicians not wanting to take responsibility. He underlined he was not surprised that the UK Parliament continued to vote down proposals for the conditions of leaving the European Union; these deals were all worse for the UK than staying in the EU. The only positive results of all the political energy and time spent during the last two years on Brexit was the understanding at all levels in the EU that the Union must reform and revitalize.
The key elements were mitigating and adapting to climate change and unifying Europe on the challenges of migration. These two questions would be the defining ones for Europe in the coming years after elections to the European Parliament on 26 May. Mr. Løkkegaard saw specific challenges posed by nationalist right-wing forces in Europe and some European governments, but remained confident that they would not become a deciding force in the new parliament. Another positive, albeit bittersweet, consequence of the Brexit turmoil was the firm support for the European Union among citizens across Europe, including Denmark. Mr. Løkkegaard stressed that he had not received conformation from the Prime Minister on the date of the coming general elections in Denmark, but saw 26 May as an educated guess. At the political top level, new leaders of the EU will be appointed in autumn, and Mr. Løkkegaard emphasized Ms. Margrethe Vestager, the Danish Commissioner for Competition, as the most popular commissioner, warmly supported by the ALDE party group in the European Parliament, but not by the Danish government as her Danish party, det Radikale Venstre, belongs to the opposition. Mr. Løkkegaard underlined the crucial relations between Europe and Asia to ensure continued growth and free trade and saw the present sterner exchange of views between the EU and China as the natural consequence of a maturing partnership.