I just found this article surfing Google Scholar. I think it’s interesting. The author is Liav Orgad, and the name of the paper is “Illiberal Liberalism Cultural Restrictions on Migration and Access to Citizenship in Europe” THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE LAW, 2009, Vol. 58. pp. 79-83

The Danish Exceptionalism
In May 2007, Denmark introduced its own citizenship test (indfødsretsprøve). Every applicant who requests Danish citizenship has to correctly answer twenty-eight out of forty multiple-choice questions within an hour. A wide range of topics are addressed. The applicant has to be familiar with Danish history from the Viking era, royal families, sports, literature, poetry, and art. The applicant
should know that during the twelfth century, Saxo Grammaticus wrote Gesta Danorum, which is an essential source of Danish history; that the story of The Ugly Duckling was written by Hans Christian Andersen; that Jørn Utzon is a Danish architect who designed the Sydney Opera House; that Vilhelm Hammershøi is aDanish painter; that Niels Bohr is a Danish scientist who won a Nobel Prize in Physics; that Denmark won the European Football Championship in 1992; and that Erik Balling is the director of the film The Olsen Gang. Other questions focus on constitutional issues, such as abortion, equality or free speech.

Passing the test is only one step on the road to citizenship. The applicant is required to renounce other citizenships, if requested, to declare loyalty to the Danish state, to pass a test proving a high level of proficiency in the Danish language, to have resided in Denmark for nine years without interruption, and to be selfsupporting for at least one year prior to the application. These requirements apply to family members and refugees alike. They come in addition to another set of requirements needed for admission. One of the admission criteria is the “housing requirement.” Under this clause, a Danish citizen seeking family reunion must demonstrate that he or she owns a dwelling place—renting is not sufficient—of a“reasonable size”—that is, “no more than two occupants per room” that “must have an area of at least twenty square meters per occupant.” Admission is also subject to the “24-year age requirement.” Under this rule, both spouses have to be above the age of twenty-four years; this condition, it is alleged, is part of the efforts to prevent forced marriages. A more controversial criterion is the “attachment requirement.” Under this provision, both spouses must demonstrate that their aggregate attachments to Denmark are stronger than their aggregate attachments to any foreign nation. But even all these requirements are not sufficient. Before naturalization, the applicant has to sign a Declaration of Awareness of the terms, and provide a deposit of DKK 54,158 (about €= 7,270) to cover future public expenses that his or her spouse may incur. In addition, the applicant has to sign a Declaration on Active Participation and Integration into the Danish society. Here are some parts of the declaration:

I declare that to the best of my abilities I will make active efforts to ensure that I and my children (if any) acquire Danish language skills and integrate into Danish society. I will make active efforts to become self-supporting through gainful employment. I will make active efforts to learn the Danish language. I will make active efforts to acquire an understanding of the fundamental norms and values of Danish society. I will make active efforts to participate in the life of the community.I will participate actively in any introductory programme I am offered. I will make active efforts to facilitate the integration of my children by working with day-care centres, schools, etc. to ensure that they acquire Danish language skills as early as possible.
[ . . . ]
I am aware that in Denmark principles apply such as the need for respect and for equal opportunities for girls and boys to develop; that adults are obliged to listen to their children; and that corporal punishment is prohibited.

(…)

Denmark, like other EU states, is struggling over defining the essential elements of Danishness. One way to identify what is Danish is by defining what is not Danish. Danish sociologist Peter Gundelach explains: “We know we are Danes only because others are not. It’s all cultural.” The “others” are the non-Western migrants, who have “hijacked the Danish identity.” As part of the campaign to spot the “other,” the DPP showed a poster of a blond Danish girl (“Denmark today”) contrasted with a veiled Muslim woman (“ten years ahead”). The “other” is seen as a cultural threat and a social burden. Danish Prime Minister Fogh Rasmussen explains: “Denmark must not be the social security office for the rest of the world.”

Danish immigration policies are among the strictest in Europe and have been criticized by the Council of Europe and the United Nations. Recently, a decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that restricts Member States’ power to regulate migration—and implies that the Danish policies are incompatible with EU rules—has brought to the forefront the relationship between Member States and EU institutions over matters of immigration regulation. In that case, the ECJ reviewed whether a restrictive Irish law, stipulating that foreign spouses of EU citizens must have lawfully resided in another EU state before being granted admission to Ireland, is in line with the EU Directive on Family Reunification.160 In an important precedent, the ECJ recognized the authority of Member States to regulate terms for entry and residence of non-EU family members, but noted that these terms may be based only on “grounds of public policy, public security or public health.” The ECJ dismissed other grounds, such as economic need and culture. It ruled that EU citizens have a protected right to freedom of movement within the EU, which includes the right to reside freely in another Member State with non-EU family members who accompany them. In addition, the ECJ has called upon Member States to review their legislation to ensure that it is in line with the EU law. According to opinion polls, fifty-five percent of the Danes disagree with the EU’s intervention in Danish immigration law, seeing it as “robbing our national statehood.” The DPP leader stated that “the Government must tell the EU system that it was a prerequisite for Danish EU membership to be able to run our migration policies independently; it is [the] Folketinget [Danish Parliament] that decides—not ECJ judges.” To date*, the Danish policies are still in force.

—–
* My friend Bram, just pointed out that, actually yesterday the rule got tighter. I guess that’s why I received so many visits on the blog. Now, it’s not only that your spouse has to be over 24, it also needs some points. Even though, a “23-year-old American nurse, who already speaks some Danish, should find it easier to move to Denmark with her spouse” (According to the Government outlet CPH Post). I wonder how is she going to speak Danish living in the USA, because a CD language course I assure you it does NOT work :) According to Information, the main idea is to stop Muslim immigration.

Well, as long as I live here, and I’m not a Dane I’m not going to comment anymore :)

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Along other projects, I have been working on a paper (so far) titled: “Geography and the Entrepreneurial Profile
– A Study of Rural and Urban Populations in Denmark”. It is coauthored with Kristian Nielsen, a great economist from the Business Department. He’s like me, a PhD candidate, but he has many more skills, including the crucial econometric and statistical analysis. We have done a paper based on a survey conducted to more than 2000 people, of which 3/4 were successful entrepreneurs and the other 1/4 were employees.

Today there is a huge debate about the importance of living in the city vs. living in the country and its influence in entrepreneurship. We wanted to see if they had any difference in their networks, identity and start-up motivation. More or less the question we rise is: Where do you have more differences: between the urban and rural population, or the entrepreneurs and employees (regardless of geography)?. We have asked this in two conferences we have presented the paper the DRUID and the AAG, and answers are split. What do you think?

At the end of the paper, we wrote a fictional story, but based on true research! to summarize our findings. Here I share with you the story, which probably will not be in the paper for space and copyright reasons. The paper? Soon in your best journal :) If you want to give us some feedback (before we send it to the journal!) we could send it to you, I guess.

The Story

To illustrate some of our main findings regarding entrepreneurs we will present a simple example. – Imagine you have two friends, Ruben and Urban. Ruben is from a rural area, and Urban is from a big city. You talk with each one of them once in a while. You are an equally important friend for each one of them, since they have around the same number of friends. Ruben, earned a three-year technical degree and Urban got a university degree. When you hang out with Urban and his friends you talk about ideas for businesses. He is a very creative guy. – Some time passes – Urban is about to get married, and Ruben, although slightly younger, already has. Interestingly, they both started a business in the service sector. Urban proposed that you and another friend join him in his business adventure. You did not join. Urban borrowed some money from family and friends. – A few more years pass, and both of your friends have become successful entrepreneurs – By reading the results of this paper, you know that you are equally as likely to receive a call from either of them to have a drink. But you are more likely to have Urban ask you for help, with for instance, a computer problem. If you do not help him, you should not worry a lot; he’s the type of person who will soon call an IT professional or another friend. It’s not that Ruben won’t have a problem with the computer, but he would not bother you about it. Ruben would probably ended up spending a few days fixing it himself.

This was a didactic example based on some of our results, overemphasizing the main differences. The differences between age, marriage, and education of these characters can probably be explained by socio-economic and cultural values for each region. Whether this is true for the difference in personal traits and work values could be important to further investigate. Also, the reason for the different use of networks is unclear, however, this behavior is probably related to geographical proximity and/or agglomeration issues. It seems that, while much has changed over the last centuries, in today’s economy the rural entrepreneurs still share a certain resemblance to the rural tradition of surviving without division of labour. This behavior was pointed out in the introduction, with the examples by Adam Smith and the ancient Greeks.

Another main finding of our research is that entrepreneurs are similar, regardless of geography, when compared to wage earners. Going back to the fictional case of the story of our two friends; – The most interesting thing happens the day you introduce Ruben and Urban. They start talking about their businesses, and get along very well. They talked about their employees, and complain about the routine problems of their providers, customers and government bureaucrats. However, they both agree on how much they like having the freedom of being their own boss. They exchange cards and comment on how many things they have in common. – And they are right; these guys have always been one of a kind.

L.C. Freire-Gibb and K. Nielsen, forthcoming

I’m currently in Berkeley, California. Besides the good research environment I have experienced here, I came because of the city of Vallejo. Why Vallejo?

In March 2009 I went to visit our old friends the Tanners, here is Jason’s website. They picked us up in San Francisco and we were driving to his home in Folsom. While driving on I-80, he told me that this city we were driving by (Vallejo), recently declared bankruptcy. He told me it was because of the unions (the police and firefighters), they were getting super high salaries, and the city couldn’t pay them. I was like “come on, you always blame the unions. no matter if it is the car industry or the education system”. We discuss the situation for a while, and then I kept it in mind.

The Doctoral School at my university, Aalborg (Denmark), encourages PhD candidates to study abroad for one semester or so. Something I wanted, was to be able to improve my qualitative research on Local Economic Development. I also wanted to go to a place where I could communicate with any problems (sometimes in Denmark is hard for me), a Spanish speaking country or English place would be fine.  So I looked at a few possibilities in my home country, Spain, England and the U.S. But I was looking for a place somewhat similar to Frederikshavn (see Differences and Similarities between Frederikshavn and Vallejo), with an industrial history, and in the struggle of transform themselves. Besides I had to go to a fine environment research, which is what the Doctoral School wants too. That is to a good university or research center.

Fortunately I knew about Richard Walker at UC Berkeley, from some of his literature, I think his publication with Storper is the number 4 most quoted reference in the discipline of Economic Geography. But specially I knew him from listening to one of his classes on line, [that anyone can follow] or the Berkeley podcast on Economic Geography. It’s an introductory class he teaches to undergrads. Because I also have to do the same, I liked to listen to this classes while I cleaned or cooked at home. I used some of his stuff in my classes. By the way he received the Distinguished Teaching Award this semester too. At the AAG 2009 meeting, I went to thank him for putting his classes online, and the inspiration I got from him. He said I made his day :)  I think he remembered me, so when I asked him if I could visit his Dept. of Geography, he agreed to sponsored me. He’s not an expert on Local Economic Development, but his approach to it is really enriching. I’m really grateful to him, and the whole UC system here. He also has given very good insights for my PhD project and research.

So here I came in late February, and I will leave by the end of July. I like Berkeley, which by the way it’s the institution who gives more PhD degrees in the world. I’ve heard around 800 a year, so here they know how to make PhD’s. have been enjoying visiting a few classes, and I’ve learned a lot from seminars and colloquiums they always have around. The case of Vallejo is amazing, and my family is quite happy to be here visiting Berkeley.

Stay tuned, today Vallejo is the canary in the coal mine.

This is the first time that I write in Danish for this blog. But I have some parts that were going to be for a book that most probably I will not use.  This is a book on the Experience Economy in Denmark, it will be published this year in Danish. I’m grateful to Birthe Ømark to assist me with the translation. I hope that one or two Danes enjoy reading this.

Indledning
Byen Frederikshavn kan kort karakteriseres på følgende måde: Den er lille (færre end 25.000 indbyggere). Den ligger i et udkantsområde. Det er Danmarks nordligst beliggende kommune. Industrien er traditionel med skibsværfterne, som var de største arbejdspladser i byen i det 20. århundrede.

Lysfestivalen skal ses som et projekt, der er knyttet til begrebet oplevelsesøkonomi. Ikke kun fordi festivalen stræber efter at lave sjove og mindeværdige oplevelser for såvel byens indbyggere som for besøgende, men også fordi projektet er organiseret af folk, der iøvrigt også er dybt involveret i oplevelsesøkonomien. Der tænkes her især på flere lysproducenter, der er involveret i eksperimentel arkitektur, show-business firmaer samt folk, der underviser i oplevelsesbelysning.

Lysfestivalen kan siges at have dybe historiske rødder, idet mennesker i Norden traditionelt har et særligt forhold til lys. Således er mange festivaler og aktiviteter i de nordiske lande dedikeret til lys i dag. I Danmark kan man nævne ”Lysende Vejle”, ”Lys over Lolland” og ”Lyslydprojektet i Høje Tåstrup”. I en brandingsammenhæng anvendes begrebet Lysets Land om den nordlige del af Nordjylland, som Frederikshavn også tilhører. Dette kapitel beskriver, hvordan Lysfestivalen i Frederikshavn har udviklet sig siden 2004 fra at være en kulturfestival til at være et projekt, der er målrettet iværksætterdynamikken i en sektor i den lokale økonomi, som er baseret på belysningsindustrien. Projektet vil blive diskuteret ud fra et lokaludviklingsperspektiv med særligt fokus på den lokale iværksætterdynamik og den politik, som sigter mod at støtte iværksætteri.

(…)

For ti år siden skabte Pine og Gilmore begrebet ”oplevelsesøkonomi”. Forfatterne hævder, at verdensøkonomien har udviklet sig fra en agrarøkonomi over en industriel økonomi til en serviceøkonomi for endelig at gå over i oplevelsesøkonomien. Pine og Gilmore’s ide er, at produkter og derefter services førhen var vigtigst for befolkningen og økonomien, mens oplevelser nu er blevet langt vigtigere. De foreslår i bogen, at erhvervslivet skal fokusere på at tilbyde oplevelser, fordi denne strategi ”åbner muligheder for ekstraordinær økonomisk ekspansion” (Pine II & Gilmore, 1999). De var imidlertid ikke de første, der fremførte tanken om at tilbyde oplevelser. Tidligere har Alvin Toffler således beskrevet, hvordan ”oplevelsesindustrier” vil blive særdeles vigtige i ”fremtiden” (Toffler, 1970). I dagens Danmark er der forskellige opfattelser af, hvilke brancher der er mest knyttede til oplevelsesøkonomi. Nogle kilder peger på ca. 16 brancher, såsom interaktive medier, events, sport, attraktioner, osv. (Nielsén, 2005).

Pine og Gilmore har aldrig indsnævret Oplevelsesøkonomien til specifikke industrier. De dristede sig endda til at kommentere på feltet planlægning af oplevelser for borgerne. Det følgende eksempel er meget relevant for dette kapitel.

Begrebet oplevelsesøkonomi og lokal økonomisk udvikling gennem iværksætteri
Desuden ”iværksætterforetagender er ikke det samme som små virksomheder” (Hart, 2003), og iværksætteri er hverken synonymt med radikal innovation eller noget helt nyt. Danmark betragtes f.eks. som et innovativt land og samfund (Hansen, 1991) og (Gregersen et al., 2009), men alligevel er innovation mest relateret til trinvis innovation. Langt størstedelen (94 %) af de firmaer, der driver forretning i Danmark, tilbyder produkter og ydelser som er kopieret direkte, eller med små ændringer fra andre (Jensen et al., 2007).

(…)

På tværs af forskellige erhverv i den private sektor bruger mange iværksættere ideer, der er relateret til oplevelsesøkonomi. Også intraprenører i offentlige organer har fået en forståelse for, at borgerne kræver oplevelser og ikke kun basal service. Det betyder, at specielt i Danmarks tilfælde, hvor så mange projekter bliver iværksat af intraprenører, kunne man forvente et samarbejde mellem intraprenører fra den offentlige og private sektor for at skabe flere muligheder for lokal udvikling. Kapitlet illustrerer netop, hvor vigtigt dette samarbejde er blevet i Frederikshavn.

Benneworth (2004) skriver “iværksætteri i udkantsområder er kompliceret, tilfældigt og usikkert” og peger på, at mere forskning i iværksætteri er nødvendig for at forstå lokal økonomisk udvikling i udkantsområder. I den forbindelse skal stedet og dets historie tages  i betragtning. Det følgende afsnit betragter den kontekst, i hvilken den lokale iværksætterdynamik fungerer i forskellige situationer.

’Lock-in’ og måder at undslippe fastlåsheden på

Et berømt eksempel på ’lock-in’ på det teknologiske område er det, der handler om et tastatur. For tiden bruger vi et computertastatur, som har de første bogstaver i det øverste hjørne i rækkefølgen QWERTY. Dette design blev patenteret i USA i 1874. Baggrunden for dette layout var at undgå at de mest brugte bogstaver skulle støde sammen i skrivemaskinen. I dag, hvor vi bruger computere, kunne vi bruge andre tastaturer for at skrive hurtigere, f.eks. Dvorak tastaturer (Dansk Dvorak), men langt de fleste mennesker har lært at skrive i det gamle system, og alle tastaturer laves på den gamle manér. Derfor har vi en historisk betinget ’lock-in’ i QWERTY (David, 1985). Dette paradoks kan også forekomme i den økonomiske udvikling i byer og regioner.

(…)

Der er to problemer med studierne af innovation og læring. For det første, at mange af studierne ”beror på officielle data og derfor ofte mangler den nødvendige specificering og fokus for at kunne vurdere lokale læringsprocesser” (MacKinnon et al., 2002). For det andet, er det studier, der støtter læringsideerne ”baseret på empirisk evidens fra storbyer og bymæssige bebyggelser” (Fløysand & Jakobsen, 2008). Problemet er, at det ikke er oplagt, at storbyers erfaringer kan overføres til mindre byer, som er anderledes i såvel størrelse som råderum. Det er blevet vist, at læringsnetværk har eksisteret i de berømte italienske industrielle distrikter og allerede i 1970’erne i den private sektor i Norge og Danmark i form af erfaringsnetværk eller læringsfællesskaber (Rosenfeld, 2001).

(…)

Alt i alt er der forskellige strategier som en by som Frederikshavn kan vælge for at undgå lock-in. Talrige projekter er da også blevet gennemført, nogle af dem fortrinsvis rettet mod oplevelsesøkonomien, som f.eks. Lysfestivalen. Festivalens hovedstrategi er at forbedre udviklingen for det lokale erhvervsliv eller iværksætterdynamikken gennem lokale initiativer. For at kunne gøre det, og under hensyntagen til Frederikshavns kendetegn, synes ideen om midlertidig geografisk nærhed for at stimulere læringen blandt byens aktører at være passende. Det er derfor relevant at finde ud af, hvordan denne nærhed er organiseret, hvem der er involveret, hvor lang tid de samarbejder og hvad resultatet bliver.

(…)

Konklusioner
I alle vestlige lande er der mange byer, som befinder sig i en fastlåst situation (lock-in). Akademikere fra forskellige felter har forsøgt at dokumentere og foreslå måder til at slippe ud af denne fastlåshed eller lock-in situation. Desværre findes der ikke megen litteratur, der omfatter provinsbyer. Dette kapitel har fremlagt vidnesbyrd fra en lille by i et dansk udkantsområde.

Det påstås i dette kapitel, at byen har skabt en Lysfestival ved at benytte sig af oplevelsesøkonomien, specifikt i belysningssektoren. Projektet er ikke blot en festival, men har adskillige bestanddele, som har fremmet lokal læring, og i et bredere perspektiv kan det højne den lokale iværksætterkultur og økonomiske udvikling.

Referencer

  • Benneworth, P. 2004, “In what sense ‘regional development?’: entrepreneurship, underdevelopment and strong tradition in the periphery”, Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, vol. 16, no. 6, pp. 439-458.
  • David, P.A. 1985, “Clio and the Economics of QWERTY”, The American Economic Review, pp. 332-337.
  • Fløysand, A. & Jakobsen, S.E. 2008,”Searching for embeddedness of innovations in rural areas: a practice turn”, Conference Paper from Regional Studies Association: “Regions: The dilemmas of integration and competition?” 27-29 May 2008
  • Gregersen, B., Linde, L.T. & Rasmussen, J.G. 2009, “Linking between Danish universities and society”, Science and Public Policy, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 151-156.
  • Hansen, N. 1991, “Factories in Danish fields: How high-wage, flexible production has succeeded in peripheral Jutland”, International Regional Science Review, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 109.
  • Hart, D.M. 2003, The emergence of entrepreneurship policy: governance, start-ups, and growth in the US knowledge economy, Cambridge University Press.
  • Jensen, M.B., Johnson, B., Lorenz, E. & Lundvall, B.Å. 2007, “Forms of knowledge and modes of innovation”, Research Policy, vol. 36, no. 5, pp. 680-693.
  • MacKinnon, D., Cumbers, A. & Chapman, K. 2002, “Learning, innovation and regional development: a critical appraisal of recent debates”, Progress in Human Geography, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 293.
  • Rosenfeld, S. 2001, “Networks and clusters: The yin and yang of rural development”, Exploring Policy Options for a New Rural America, pp. 103-120.
  • Tofler, A. 1970, “Future shock”, London: The Bodey Head Ltd.
  • Nielsén, T. 2005, Kultur- og Oplevelsesøkonomien i Region Nordjylland, Aalborg Samarbejdet.

I’m looking at these two cities areas. Frederishavn is a small city of roughly 25,000 inhabitants in North Denmark, with some dependent towns around. Vallejo it’s a city in California 4 times bigger than the Danish one.

For several reasons that I will lay out, I think Frederikshavn has some interesting lessons to learn from Vallejo. Perhaps, it can also be the other way around.

I’m not really doing a comparative study. However I’m going to say some of the differences and similarities between these two places. (See a map of the two)

Differences

  1. Vallejo is considered by some, part of the San Francisco Bay Area. So it’s geographically close to a population of 7 million people.
  2. It’s in the United States, and it’s regulated with its Federal (national) and State (California) laws.
  3. American socieconomic characteristics.
  4. Historical traits of U.S. western city (with booms and busts).
  5. Very diverse population. Frederikshavn has a less than 5% of its population non-white, Vallejo has only 1/3 of its population white, the rest is quite mixed (1/4 Asian,  1/4 African-American, and the rest from different races. Hispanic are 15% aprox.)
  6. Vallejo has a very nice weather :)

Similarities that Vallejo has with Frederikshavn:

  1. Blue-collar town (with all that this implies)
  2. Train got there at the same time (1869 in Vallejo and 1871 Frh.) by the end of railways boom.
  3. Its coast and train arrival are the two most important factor to explain the existence and development of both.
  4. Industrial oriented during all 20th century
  5. Shipyards highest employer during mid 20th century (In Vallejo were mostly military)
  6. Shipyards closed in the 90’s
  7. Traditionally military “Navy town” (Base closed in 1996 in Vallejo)
  8. It can be considered in the “periphery” of innovative regions, supplying people there
  9. ‘Little brother syndrome’ compared to relatively close bigger cities
  10. Even though they’re not a rich town, they have a decent living standard on average
  11. Important recent political changes (political tension).
  12. Recent change of Mayor (2008-09)
  13. Strong emphasis in ‘experience economy’ (recreation, tourism, culture, etc.)
  14. Town in the middle on the way of bigger city-regions (“strategic” geographical position)
  15. Strong focus on fostering entrepreneurship, with partial success
  16. Powerful unions
  17. Regarded as a lesser city by the bigger cities
  18. Education scores are lower than average
  19. A high number of young people leave
  20. Relative violent reputation
  21. There is a small marina
  22. There is a ferry service
  23. Crucial building projects have not started because of lack of funds
  24. Current higher unemployment than average
  25. Recent serious economic troubles
  26. A few groups of very active citizens
  27. They are the poorest rich (The Bay Areas as well as Denmark are very rich places compared to the rest of the world).

I have been updating this post. The more I have studied Vallejo, the more I found similarities.

Last week I went to a presentation of a book. This was done by my academic supervisor, Birgitte Gregersen, who is one of the authors. The book is JUST published. It’s only in Danish and the original title is: ”Ny energi og innovation i Danmark”. Honestly I have not much idea about energy issues, well, at least compared with many of my close friends who are doing their PhD’s in Energy (in engineering, planning and economics).

I will post some of the policy proposals they suggest for the case of Denmark. The reason why I’m doing it is because I always find very interesting the policy proposals, no matter in what field. It’s always nice to discuss it. And honestly I admire the reports, articles and books, that dare to give policy proposals. I find more interesting these ones, that the ones who are purely descriptive. One of the teachers I had in a Phd class, Andrea Fernandez Ribas, said that the ones who don’t give policy proposals do not really contribute for the society (or something like that).

Here are the policy proposals about how to improve the energy industry in Denmark. Something that probably any country can learn from. Again, I insist, I do not know too much about energy. So here I’m trying to repeat things, like a parrot. This is from the notes I took at the presentation.

1)    Strength Danish framework: collaboration among Danish firms and institutions (I guess this follows the ideas of the theories on National Systems of Innovation)
2)    Policy should be different for each technology (solar, wind, fuel cell, etc.)
3)    Continue strength Public-Private Partnerships
4)    On public money: More transparency (for example clearly show in websites the budgets, etc.). Avoid stop-go policy, that is ensure long term plans, to avoid momentum because of different policy makers in power. Also merge similar support schemes. If there are going to be changes, early warning, avoid surprises.
5)    Stimulate demand for renewable energies. R&D is not enough. (This can be done not only with subsidies, but taxing the use of other energies)
6)    More public innovation procurement as a direct policy. For example for new buildings and renovation of them.
7)    Better coordination of the energy and innovation policy
8)    Strength systematic experiences and learning process. For example, teaching energy efficiency in technical schools.

A couple of weeks ago I found at the Copenhagen airport the magazine Focus in Denmark, I’ve seen it before but this time I read it while waiting. The article ATTRACTING FOREIGN STUDENTS seemed quite interesting to me. The basic idea you can learn is that if you’re a student around the world you should consider Denmark, if you’re already in Denmark, you should consider stay. If you’re a Dane, this is quite hard to listen (It would be hard for me to read this if a Spanish official would say it)

“We want to be a top-class international university and it is not the passport number that decides, but what our students have between their ears. We must attract the best, and if it is others than Danes, then it is they we want to have. But internationalisation is not a separate point in our strategy – it is incorporated into everything we do,” says Lykke Friis, prorector of the University of Copenhagen.

So, if you’re a Dane, you know that you’re not competing against the other Dane down the street or the other Dane across the bridge, but against all the world.

Of course things are not that clear cut neither the life for newcomers (especially in the beginning) is so rosy, but anyways I’m glad that I’m here among the Danes.

p.s. Yesterday I went and vote in the local and regional elections. As an EU citizen we’re allowed to do that, no matter where you’re in the EU. However, for the national elections we can only vote in our respective countries.