Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Danish politician
Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Helle Thorning-Schmidt is a Danish politician who has been the Prime Minister of Denmark since 3 October 2011 and the Leader of the Social Democrats since 12 April 2005. She is the first woman to hold either post. Thorning-Schmidt served as a Member of the European Parliament for Denmark from 1999 to 2004 before being elected to the Danish Parliament in 2005.
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Former Danish prime minister to run Save the Children International
Yahoo News - about 1 year
By Ellen Wulfhorst NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Denmark's first female prime minister is to become the new head of Save the Children International, one of the world's leading charities that works in some 120 nations, it announced on Thursday. Helle Thorning-Schmidt, a Social Democrat who led a Danish coalition government from 2011 to 2015, succeeds Jasmine Whitbread as chief executive of the umbrella charity organization, the London-based group said. Thorning-Schmidt said she looked forward to working on Save the Children International's "bold but simple" goals that children do not die from preventable causes, have access to quality education and do not live with violence and abuse.
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Yahoo News article
Helle Thorning Schmidt celebrates with Labour husband Stephen Kinnock at Aberavon count
Daily Mail (UK) - almost 2 years
Wearing a green dress and red rosette, Ms Thorning Schmidt gave her spouse a round of applause inside Neath Sports Centre after he won the seat in the rock solid Labour constituency in south Wales.
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Daily Mail (UK) article
Denmark unveils anti-terror plan
Yahoo News - about 2 years
Denmark on Thursday unveiled a 130-million-euro ($150-million) plan to combat terror at home and abroad, after two people were shot dead in attacks in Copenhagen. "We want to strengthen our ability to gather and analyse (information) about terror planning abroad," Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt told a briefing. The country has been left in shock after the shootings in Copenhagen which targeted a meeting on free speech and Islam and the capital's main synagogue.
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Yahoo News article
One dead in shooting at Danish meeting with artist who drew Mohammad
Yahoo News - about 2 years
By Sabina Zawadzki and Ole Mikkelsen COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - A civilian was killed and three police wounded on Saturday when a masked gunman sprayed bullets into a Copenhagen meeting attended by a Swedish artist threatened with death for his cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said Denmark was on high alert after a "terrorist attack" police said was aimed at artist Lars Vilks, who stirred controversy in 2007 with published drawings depicting the Prophet Mohammad as a dog. The attacker escaped in a car that was found later in the outskirts of Copenhagen. Danish police were put on high alert.
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Yahoo News article
India-born politician keeps powerful portfolios in new Danish cabinet
The Times of India - about 3 years
India-born Danish politician Manu Sareen, 46, continues to hold some of the most powerful and sensitive portfolios in the new Danish cabinet announced by incumbent Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
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The Times of India article
Danish Premier Shuffles Cabinet
Wall Street Journal - about 3 years
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt announced a reorganization of her government days after the Socialist People's Party left the government.
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Wall Street Journal article
How a Goldman Sachs deal ignited a political firestorm in Denmark that nearly toppled the government
Financial Post - about 3 years
As night turned to day on Jan. 30, Denmark’s biggest newspapers were predicting Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s coalition would survive a dispute over letting Goldman Sachs Group Inc. buy part of Dong Energy A/S. By 10 a.m., the Socialist People’s Party had quit her minority coalition and Danes were trying to understand how a Wall Street bank could have shaken the political landscape in their Scandinavian haven. Thorning-Schmidt said she will appoint a new Cabinet “soon” to replace the six ministers who walked out over the dispute. The 48-year-old Social Democrat watched her coalition fall apart Thursday after pushing a US$1.5 billion sale of an 18% stake in Dong to Goldman. The deal, opposed by 68% of Danish voters in a Megafon poll for TV2, dominated headlines after it emerged Goldman would get some veto powers in exchange for its investment. Goldman has said it views the stake as a long-term holding and will support the strategy of the current management. A great man ...
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Financial Post article
Dong and the vampire squid
The Economist - about 3 years
DONG ENERGY, Denmark’s biggest utility, needs capital. For a long time, the state-controlled power producer's plans to sell a 19% stake to Goldman Sachs, an investment bank, alongside smaller sales to two pension funds, flew under the radar. But this week, the plans suddenly erupted into a public controversy that nearly brought down the left-leaning government. The sale had been approved—but it cost the ruling coalition the left-wing Socialist People’s Party, which left the government. (It said it will still support the government from outside.) Denmark’s centre-right won three elections in a row until 2011. Then Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s (pictured) Social Democrats and allies finally won a small majority, and she assembled a government with the Social Liberal Party and the Socialist People’s Party. Danes on the left looked forward to a partial rollback of the centre-right’s agenda. This is why they were so surprised to see one of Denmark’s state-owned companies raise money from a s ...
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The Economist article
Quest: King of the Davos selfies
CNN - about 3 years
Selfie is the word du jour, and it became cause celebre at Nelson Mandela's funeral when the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt took a selfie with U.S. President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron.
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CNN article
Danish politics: A tricky start to the year
The Economist - about 3 years
Selfie-inflicted IT WAS probably the defining snapshot of Danish politics in 2013: at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, the country’s prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, snapped a “selfie” with Barack Obama, the American president, and David Cameron, the British prime minister. The image went immediately viral on the internet.For the three political leaders and their fans it was a moment of harmless fun. For their detractors it was proof of unbecoming frivolity on a solemn occasion.Like any seasoned politician, Ms Thorning-Schmidt took the criticism in her stride and contrived to put a positive spin on the event. The mood was convivial and informal, she told Danish state television afterwards, and a friendly relationship with the American president was only an advantage. “It would have been a problem for Denmark had I sat ramrod straight for three hours and never exchanged a word with President Obama,” she said.Ms Thorning-Schmidt enjoys few lighthearted moments these days: ev ...
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The Economist article
Insight: Denmark's PM changes course to join Nordic welfare reform
Yahoo News - about 3 years
By Alistair Scrutton and Teis Jensen COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt alienated her center-left voters when she started cutting one of Europe's most generous welfare systems shortly after she was elected. Two years later there are signs the reforms by "Gucci Helle" - as the elegantly-dressed leader is known to critics - are paying dividends and her popularity has rebounded. Denmark, along with similar ones other Nordic countries of Sweden, Finland and Norway, has long cherished a welfare system that includes living allowances for students and generous parental leaves, part of decades-long social policies focused on egalitarianism. But the high cost, which will rise as populations age, specter of debt crisis in several southern European countries where governments overspent, and the need to lower taxes to make economies competitive has brought pressure for change.
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Yahoo News article
Denmark Is Considered The Happiest Country. You'll Never Guess Why.
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Last month, Denmark was crowned the happiest country in the world. “The top countries generally rank higher in all six of the key factors identified in the World Happiness Report,” wrote University of British Columbia economics professor John Helliwell, one of the report's contributing authors. “Together, these six factors explain three quarters of differences in life evaluations across hundreds of countries and over the years.” The six factors for a happy nation split evenly between concerns on a government- and on a human-scale. The happiest countries have in common a large GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy at birth and a lack of corruption in leadership. But also essential were three things over which individual citizens have a bit more control over: A sense of social support, freedom to make life choices and a culture of generosity. "There is now a rising worldwide demand that policy be more closely aligned with what really matters to people as they themselves character ...
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Huffington Post article
Don't blame Europe, stick with reform: Danish PM
Yahoo News - over 3 years
By Alistair Scrutton and Mette Fraende COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark's center-left prime minister, accused by her left-wing parliamentary backers of veering too far to the right, said on Friday the country had got through the worst of its economic crisis and should persevere with unpopular reforms. Elected in 2011 promising to pull Denmark out of an economic slump, Helle Thorning-Schmidt is deeply unpopular half way through her term, opinion polls show, although analysts do not expect her minority government to fall. ...
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Yahoo News article
Latest from White House Press pool traveling in Europe with President Obama
Fox News - over 3 years
Subject: Pool Report 7   Potus left the Grand Hotel at 7:04 p.m. for his dinner with Nordic leaders.   As has been the case throughout this beautiful, breezy day, spectators lined the motorcade route, taking pictures and waving. No protesters in evidence.   After a brief ride, motorcade reached Sager House, residence of the prime minister of Sweden.   Pool ushered in for a brief family photo spray. Potus stood in the center of the room, flanked by the Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt; Finland President Sauli Niinisto; Denmark PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt; Norway PM Jens Stoltenberg; and Iceland PM Sigmundur Davio Gunnlaugsson.   The men all wore dark suits. Ms. Thorning-Schmidt, standing at the end on potus’s right, stood out in a red jacket   Mr. Obama gave a thumbs up after a few seconds of picture-taking and said, “Thank you everybody.”   Pool escorted out. We’re now holding at the international press file center while potus and the Nordic leaders eat dinner. ...
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Fox News article
Islam in Denmark: Of mosques and meat
The Economist - over 3 years
ISLAM and immigration have slipped out of Denmark’s political discourse since the centre-left government led by Helle Thorning-Schmidt came to power two years ago and dismantled the ministry for refugees and immigrants. Now they are back in the news, because the country’s first big purpose-built mosque is soon to open its doors.The mosque, jammed between a railway line and a back street in Copenhagen’s gritty north-west, comes complete with a dome and a minaret, even though local by-laws prohibit any noisy call to prayer. The news of its opening took many Danes by surprise. Denmark’s Muslims have tried for years to have a proper place to worship, but previous attempts failed or were foiled.When the first news stories about the mosque appeared, the focus was on the architectural elegance of the new building—a pleasant blend of Scandinavian restraint and the strictures of the Islamic building code. But soon articles started to appear that fretted about fights between Islamic sects, radic ...
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The Economist article
Danish PM launches reshuffle to try to stem falling support
Yahoo News - over 3 years
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt announced a government reshuffle on Friday to try to stem falling support for the ruling coalition over cuts to the country's generous welfare system. Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark's first female prime minister, said she would appoint a new minister for business and growth, Henrik Sass Larsen, to try to kick start an economy which has been poised on the brink of recession for more than a year. ...
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Yahoo News article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Helle Thorning-Schmidt
  • 2016
    Age 49
    Ending her political career in April 2016, she is the chief executive of the NGO Save the Children.
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  • 2015
    Age 48
    On 4 September 2015, Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen announced that the Danish government has nominated Thorning-Schmidt as Denmark’s official candidate to the position as new United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
    More Details Hide Details Although Thorning-Schmidt has been baptized, she is not confirmed. She occasionally goes to church and does not believe in eternal life, salvation, heaven, or hell. The Danish tax authorities (SKAT) investigated reports that Thorning-Schmidt's husband, Stephen Kinnock, was guilty of tax evasion. Kinnock had declared that he was not a resident of Denmark and thus not subject to Danish taxes, while at the same time Thorning-Schmidt had declared, in an application for dispensation for Kinnock to own property in Denmark, that he resided in Denmark "every weekend of the year from Friday through to Monday". Thorning-Schmidt attributed the discrepancy to a "big and sloppy error". On 16 September 2010, Danish tax authorities acquitted the couple and the charges of tax evasion were dropped. A week before the 15 September 2011 elections to the Danish Parliament, the 2010 decision from SKAT (the taxation department) surfaced in the Danish tabloid B.T. The case had been leaked to the newspaper several months previously. It turned out that from 2000 to 2008 Thorning-Schmidt had made use of tax deductions applicable to her husband, even though he was not subject to Danish taxes and had no income in Denmark. The mistake was corrected by SKAT for the three years from 2006 to 2008, and Thorning-Schmidt paid the amount she had saved due to the error. She was however not required to pay the amounts saved for the six years from 2000 to 2005, because of the statutory time limit for liability in such cases.
    Having lost the Danish general election of 2015, she stepped down as Prime Minister and as leader of the Social Democratic Party.
    More Details Hide Details It was announced that Thorning-Schmidt would become her party's member of the Presidium of the Folketing and she currently serves as the Presidium's 1st Vice-President.
    Thorning-Schmidt led her party into the 2015 general election in which her party increased its share of votes and seats, but the left bloc was defeated by the right bloc.
    More Details Hide Details She announced her resignation as Prime Minister of Denmark and as leader of the Social Democrats after the election results became clear. Thorning has been leader of the Social Democrats through seven electoral campaigns. Since her retirement from Danish politics, Thorning-Schmidt has held paid and unpaid positions, including:
    Following defeat in 2015, she announced that she would step down as both Danish Prime Minister and Social Democratic party leader.
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  • 2014
    Age 47
    In 2014 he worked for London-based Xyntéo as managing director for the "Global Leadership and Technology Exchange", but he was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Aberavon at the United Kingdom general election, 2015.
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    On 30 January 2014, the Socialist People's Party announced their departure from Thorning-Schmidt's government due to a conflict over the proposed sale of DONG Energy shares to Goldman Sachs.
    More Details Hide Details Before departure, they also announced they will support Thorning-Schmidt although not being a part of her government.
  • 2013
    Age 46
    In December 2013, Thorning-Schmidt, British Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama faced criticism on social media that they had behaved inappropriately after posing for a "selfie" taken with Thorning-Schmidt's mobile phone during the memorial service for the former South African President Nelson Mandela.
    More Details Hide Details Defending her actions, Thorning-Schmidt said, "There were lots of pictures taken that day, and I just thought it was a bit fun. Maybe it also shows that when we meet heads of state and government, we too are just people who have fun." Cameron said he was being polite when Thorning-Schmidt asked him to take part in the picture. On a previous occasion, Thorning-Schmidt had stopped her car to ask for a picture with the actress Sarah Jessica Parker after spotting her signing autographs in Oslo.
    On 9 August and 12 December 2013, amid tensions between coalition partners, Thorning-Schmidt made cabinet reshuffles.
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  • 2011
    Age 44
    Helle Thorning-Schmidt officially began her first term as Prime Minister on 3 October 2011, after having presented her cabinet to the Queen and having received her official appointment.
    More Details Hide Details Thorning-Schmidt has pursued a centrist compromise agenda, building several reforms with support from both sides of the Folketing. This has caused friction with the supporting Red-Green Alliance, which has been kept outside of influence. Thorning-Schmidt presided over the successful conclusion of NATO's strike missions in Libya, to which Denmark was a contributor, less than three weeks after taking office. During the first year in office her government rolled back anti-immigration legislation enacted by the previous government, and passed a tax-reform with support from the liberal-conservative opposition. The tax reform raised the top tax threshold, effectively lowering tax rates for high income earners. The aim of the tax reform has been to increase labour output to fend off a projected shortage within the next decades. The stated goal is to entice Danes to work more in order to compensate for the decreasing workforce, by lowering tax on wages and gradually lowering welfare payments to those outside of the labour market to increase the economic benefit of working relative to receiving welfare.
    Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen formally tendered his resignation to Queen Margrethe on 16 September 2011.
    More Details Hide Details Rasmussen's cabinet remained in office as a caretaker government until 3 October, when Helle Thorning-Schmidt was appointed Prime Minister by the Queen following negotiations with the other opposition parties.
    In the 2011 parliamentary election, she was re-elected to parliament.
    More Details Hide Details Although the ruling Liberal Party became the largest party and gained a seat and the Social Democrats lost a seat, the opposition parties combined obtained more seats than the government coalition. Her four-party bloc gained a majority of 89 seats in the 179-seat parliament against 86 for the sitting Prime Minister and his center-right parliamentary supporters.
  • 2007
    Age 40
    Although her party again lost two seats in the 2007 election reducing the total to 45 seats, her leadership was not questioned by her party.
    More Details Hide Details In June 2008, according to a Gallup poll, the opposition centre-left was at 49.8% compared to 49.6% for the centre-right. This would leave the centre-left with 88 seats, two short of a majority, discounting the Faroe Island and Greenland seats. Since late 2009 the opposition enjoyed large majorities in the polls, and according to polls carried out in January 2011 the opposition led the governing coalition under Lars Løkke Rasmussen by 5–7 points and the Social Democrats led Venstre by 7–10 points which would make the Social Democrats the largest party by far in the Folketing. Both Margrethe Vestager (Social Liberal Party) and Villy Søvndal (Socialist People's Party) have pledged their support to Thorning-Schmidt after a potential election victory. After the last election Helle Thorning-Schmidt started working towards forming a centre-left government coalition consisting of the Socialist People's Party and the Social Liberal Party with parliamentary support from the small Red-Green Alliance. As the leader of the largest opposition party in Denmark, she was described by the media as the leader of the Danish opposition.
    She was against holding a referendum on the European Reform Treaty. During her 2007 campaign she promised to relax restrictions on asylum seekers and immigrants.
    More Details Hide Details She also opposed tax cuts announced by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, instead stating she would like to see more funding for welfare. The party also campaigned on a platform of combating increased inequalities in society, and fighting global warming by supplying 45% of Denmark's energy from renewable sources by 2025.
    She led the Social Democrats in the 2007 election, in which her party suffered modest losses and was forced into a third term in opposition.
    More Details Hide Details The party was also unable to regain its position as the largest party in the Folketing.
  • 2005
    Age 38
    Thorning-Schmidt campaigned for the party leadership as a moderate candidate and was elected by the party members on 12 April 2005, ahead of the other candidate, Frank Jensen.
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    In his speech of resignation on election night, 8 February 2005, he called for a leadership election in order to determine who should lead the party into the next election.
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    In the 2005 Danish parliamentary election Thorning-Schmidt was elected to the Folketing.
    More Details Hide Details After the defeat in the 2005 election, in which the Social Democrats lost five seats and failed to regain the majority it had lost in the 2001 election, former Minister of Finance and party leader Mogens Lykketoft resigned his post, taking responsibility for the poor election results.
    She was elected to replace Mogens Lykketoft as Leader of the Social Democrats after the 2005 parliamentary election, leading her party through the 2007 parliamentary election, which was won by the centre-right alliance, and the 2011 parliamentary election, after which she was appointed Prime Minister by Queen Margrethe II.
    More Details Hide Details Thorning-Schmidt holds degrees in political science from the University of Copenhagen and a graduate degree from the College of Europe. Helle Thorning-Schmidt was born in Rødovre to Holger Thorning-Schmidt, a lecturer in mathematics and national economics at the University of Copenhagen, and his wife Grete. Her father was politically conservative and she grew up in the Copenhagen suburb of Ishøj.
  • 1999
    Age 32
    After her time in Brussels she worked as an international consultant with the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions until being elected MEP in 1999.
    More Details Hide Details Thorning-Schmidt was elected to the European Parliament as a member of the Party of European Socialists. During the five-year term, she was a member of the Employment and Social Committee and served as a substitute on the Constitutional Committee. She co-founded the Campaign for Parliament Reform (CPR).
    Thorning-Schmidt served as a Member of the European Parliament for Denmark from 1999 to 2004 before being elected to the Danish Parliament in 2005.
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  • 1996
    Age 29
    She married Stephen Kinnock (who became a British MP in 2015) in 1996, so becoming the daughter-in-law of Neil Kinnock, former leader of the British Labour Party and European Commissioner, and Glenys Kinnock, former British Minister for Europe.
    More Details Hide Details She met her husband while they were both attending the College of Europe. They have two daughters, Johanna and Camilla. Helle lives in Copenhagen with their children, while her husband partly resided in Davos, Switzerland, where he worked as a director for the World Economic Forum.
  • 1994
    Age 27
    From 1994 to 1997, Thorning-Schmidt led the secretariat of the Danish delegation of Social Democrats in the European Parliament.
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    Thorning-Schmidt studied political science at University of Copenhagen, earning a cand.scient.pol. degree in 1994.
    More Details Hide Details She also holds a master's degree in European studies specialising in policy and public administration from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, where she studied from 1992 to 1993 (she is an alumna of the Charles IV promotion). At the time, Denmark had a quota administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of one student at this prestigious institution, and Thorning-Schmidt was selected. In addition to her native Danish, she speaks fluent English and French.
  • 1993
    Age 26
    She became a social democrat during her studies in Belgium and joined the Social Democratic Party in 1993.
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  • 1985
    Age 18
    She attended Ishøj Gymnasium from which she graduated in 1985.
    More Details Hide Details Her parents divorced when she was 10 years old.
  • 1966
    Born on December 14, 1966.
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