Denmark has climbed an impressive two places to 11 in this year’s ranking, due in large part to strong scores across the Government, Education, and Enterprise metrics. This year we saw Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen make strides towards unity by strengthening his minority government through a coalition with the Liberal Alliance and the Conservatives. This coalition confirms yet again that broad consensus and constructive dialogue continue to drive Danish politics, and drew envy from those fed-up with partisan politics around the world. Denmark also continues to be recognised for its creativity, design, and innovation. The nation has been blessed with the regal touch of Princess Mary Donaldson, whose style has helped it become a leader in fashion diplomacy. But like all nations, Denmark isn’t without its drawbacks. The government’s controversial hard-line policy towards migrants and refugees has reignited an ugly debate over identity. Denmark also struggles to gain relevance on the world stage. Its culture unfortunately remains largely unknown in other parts of the world, and its engagement in international organisations is lacking. As Denmark edges closer to a much coveted spot in The Soft Power 30 top-10, we wait eagerly for next year’s results.
Denmark’s greatest strength is undoubtedly its stable and reliable government. This year’s coalition deal certainly confirmed this by bolstering Denmark’s ranking in the Government sub-index to an impressive 6th place. The Nordic socio-political model is widely admired, and Denmark continues to show the benefits of a united, cohesive, and transparent governance. It’s no wonder the country has topped Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index five years in a row.
While Denmark enjoys a strong system of domestic governance, the Nordic country’s low score in our Engagement sub-index proves it could stand to improve its global network. Denmark is one of the few countries to have earmarked 0.7% of their GDP to foreign aid, but increasing its 1.2% GDP contribution to NATO could help improve its credentials on the world stage.
To propel itself into the top-10, Denmark should assert itself on the world stage by promoting its many successes. In sharing best practices around fostering green cities, Denmark could become a global leader in sustainable transport. Increasing global engagement through renewed involvement in international organisations would also benefit Denmark.