Thorning-Schmidt, now the CEO of Save the Children, participated in Fortune’s ‘Most Powerful Women Summit’, where she sat down for a 30-minute interview in which she discussed her upbringing, political career and some of the criticisms she faced while in Danish politics.
She also addressed Europe’s refugee crisis with what critics would say was a different message than when she was in the PM position.
“There is room in Europe for a million people. There is room in Europe to look after a million people and what we just have to think about all the time is that these people are fleeing from the most dreadful war we have seen in our neighbourhood for many, many countries [sic]. Of course there is room,” she said.
The former PM also defended her administration and the current Danish government by saying that Denmark continues to be among the European leaders in taking in the most refugees per capita.
“Denmark is still one of the countries taking more refugees than so many others. Denmark is a country that takes a lot of responsibility.
Thorning-Schmidt was voted out of office nearly one year ago after an election in which she campaigned hard on her party’s new-found tough stance on refugees and immigration.
“We have tightened the restrictions on family reunification and tightened the rules for asylum. It is the first time in 12 years that it has happened,” she said in a 2015 New Year’s address to the nation, a message that she then repeated numerous times over the following months.
Election campaign posters seen all over Denmark also promised Danes that she would continue to be tough on immigration. One poster featured Throning-Schmidt smiling under the headline 'Tougher asylum rules and more requirements of immigrants”.
After being replaced as prime minister by Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Thorning-Schmidt largely withdrew from the political spotlight before announcing in January that she would leave politics to take a job as the CEO of Save the Children, a post she assumed in April.
Thorning-Schmidt’s interview during Fortune’s ‘Most Powerful Women Summit’ can be seen here: