Uffe Ellemann-Jensen

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Person.png Uffe Ellemann-Jensen   SourcewatchRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen.jpg
Alma materUniversity of Copenhagen
SpouseHanne Jonsen
Member ofEuropean Leadership Network
Started more offensive military/soft power posture as Danish Foreign Minister. 8 Bilderbergs, candidate for NATO General-Secretary.

Employment.png Denmark/Foreign Minister

In office
10 September 1982 - 25 January 1993

Employment.png Leader of Venstre

In office
23 July 1984 - 18 March 1998
Succeeded byAnders Fogh Rasmussen

Uffe Ellemann-Jensen was Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark in the Conservative led Poul Schlüter Administration 1982–1993. He was leader of the Danish Liberal Party, Venstre 1984–1998 and President of the European Liberals 1995–2000. He participated eight times in the Bilderberg conferences: 1984, 1987 and every year between 1993 and 1998.

A transatlantic politician, Ellemann-Jensen has been a consistent supporter of both NATO and the European Union and of close relations with the United States. The new active Danish foreign policy started by Ellemann-Jensen's 10 years term as Foreign Minister ultimately became a turning point in Danish foreign and defence policy. Known as the Ellemann-Jensen doctrine, it involves more offensive military and soft power operations.

Since 1998, Ellemann-Jensen has been Chairman of Baltic Development Forum, a non-profit networking organisation dedicated to the business development of the Baltic Sea region. He is non-executive director of various boards of international companies.


After training in the military, he was a first lieutenant in the reserve of the King's Artillery Regiment employed by the Defense Staff 1962-64. At the same time he started studying, and took a master’s degree in Political Economy at the University of Copenhagen in 1969. During the studies he also worked as a newspaper journalist. For five years, 1970-75, Uffe was a popular political and economic commentator and newscaster on Danish TV. He became editor in chief of the Danish financial daily “Borsen” in 1975.

When he left journalism to pursue politics in 1976, he made a rapid ascent through the party ranks. Elected to parliament in 1977, he was appointed political spokesman for the Liberal Party in 1978, and minister for Foreign Affairs in 1983. He became party leader in 1994.

A strong supporter of NATO and the European Union based upon his belief in Western cohesion led to many political battles with the left-wing opposition. Several times the opposition tried to topple him on issues of solidarity with NATO decisions, but he survived. Uffe Ellemann-Jensen succeeded in convincing a majority in the Danish Parliament, Folketinget, to actively support the US led coalition against Iraq during the Gulf War. Furthermore, he led the Danish recognition of the renewed independence of the three Baltic countries in 1991, when Denmark was the first country to re-establish diplomatic relations with the three countries.

In 1992, Ellemann-Jensen, together with his German colleague Hans-Dietrich Genscher, took the initiative to create the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the EuroFaculty.[1]

After the fall of the centre-right government, in which he was also Deputy Prime Minister, in 1993 following the Tamil case, outgoing prime minister Poul Schlüter attempted to have Ellemann-Jensen appointed acting prime minister until Henning Dyremose (Conservative) could take over, but the attempt was dropped as royal cabinet secretary Niels Eilschou Holm considered the maneuver unconstitutional. Instead, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (Social Democrats) was appointed prime minister following a "Queen's round", and Ellemann-Jensen became leader of the opposition.[2]

Ellemann-Jensen was leader of the opposition until the 1998 general election, which he lost with a single seat. Had his party had only 85 more votes, he would have been able to form a new centre-right government as Prime Minister. He decided then to leave politics and his successor as the leader of Venstre was Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who became Prime Minister of Denmark in 2001.

The new active Danish foreign policy started by Ellemann-Jensen's 10 years term as Foreign Minister ultimately became a turning point in Danish foreign and defence policy. Known as the Ellemann-Jensen doctrine, it involves more offensive military and soft power operations.

In 1995, Ellemann-Jensen was a candidate for the post of Secretary-General of NATO when Willy Claes was forced to leave the role. He got the support of the U.S. government, but France blocked his candidature, preferring the Spanish candidate, Javier Solana. Ellemann-Jensen never tried to hide his disappointment with not getting the post that he had coveted all his political life.

Since leaving politics, Ellemann-Jensen has become a columnist with the Danish daily Berlingske Tidende and a contributor to George Soros' op-ed influence outlet Project Syndicate.

Ellemann-Jensen became a central figure in the controversy following the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten's decision to print 12 satirical images of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in September 2005. In his column, only days after the cartoons were printed, he argued that he thought the cartoons represented an "unnecessary provocation", believing they constituted in itself a caricature of Denmark's "cherished freedom of expression". Ellemann-Jensen remained that position all through the controversy at the same time never missing an opportunity to support the Danish Prime Minister's stance that the government could not and should not take punitive action against the newspaper.

Personal life

Uffe Ellemann-Jensen is the son of former member of the Folketing Peter Jensen. In 1971, his first marriage was dissolved and he married Alice Vestergaard, former Head of the Copenhagen News department of TV-2, Denmark. He has four children, among them Jakob Ellemann-Jensen and Karen Ellemann.

Ellemann-Jensen has always been protective of his private life. However, it is well known that he is an avid hunter and fly fisher, as well as the author of several best-selling books. Especially those about his time as Foreign Minister and the Cold War have gained him broad recognition and critical respect in the corporate media.

On 18 December 2002, Ellemann-Jensen was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Dannebrog. It is very unusual for a politician in Denmark not having been Prime Minister to be awarded the Grand Cross.

On 12 February 2010, Ellemann-Jensen received the highest accolade of the Republic of Macedonia, the 8th of September Order for his contribution to the strengthening of Danish-Macedonian relations and for promotion of Macedonia in its initial years of independence in the early 1990s.

He is a former Commissioner at the International Commission on Missing Persons.[3] He is also a trustee of Reuters Founders Share Company in London and a member of the International Crisis Group.


Events Participated in

Bilderberg/198411 May 198413 May 1984Sweden
The 32nd Bilderberg, held in Sweden
Bilderberg/198724 April 198726 April 1987Italy
35th Bilderberg, in Italy, 106 participants
Bilderberg/199322 April 199325 April 1993Greece
Nafsika Astir Palace Hotel
The 41st Bilderberg, held in Greece
Bilderberg/19942 June 19945 June 1994Finland
The 42nd Bilderberg, in Helsinki.
Bilderberg/19958 June 199511 June 1995Greece
Nafsika Astir Palace Hotel
The 43rd Bilderberg. Held at the Burgenstock Hotel in Burgenstock, Switzerland.
Bilderberg/199630 May 19962 June 1996Canada
The 44th Bilderberg, held in Canada
Bilderberg/199712 June 199715 June 1997US
Lake Lanier
Georgia (State)
The 45th Bilderberg meeting
Bilderberg/199814 May 199817 May 1998Scotland
The 46th Bilderberg meeting, held in Scotland, chaired by Peter Carrington