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In world first, Denmark to name a ‘digital ambassador’

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In world first, Denmark to name a ‘digital ambassador’
Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said the new ambassadorship recognizes the size and importance of today's tech giants. Photo: Nikolai Linares/Scanpix
10:20 CET+01:00
Saying that tech giants like Google and Apple now have more influence than many countries, Denmark will become the first nation in the world to appoint a so-called digital ambassador.
Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen revealed the plans in an interview with Politiken newspaper on Friday, saying that companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft “affect Denmark just as much as entire countries”. 
 
“These companies have become a type of new nations and we need to confront that,” Samuelsen said. 
 
Samuelsen said that through the ambassadorship, which has not yet been filled, Denmark will work toward better relationships with the American tech firms that have amassed fortunes much larger than some of the countries with which Denmark practises traditional diplomacy. 
 
“We are sending a signal that includes that royal crown and our entire diplomacy,” he told Politiken. 
 
The foreign minister pointed to a report in the Financial Times that showed that market values of Apple and Google are so enormous that if the companies were nations they’d narrowly miss out on inclusion in the G20, the world’s 20 largest economies. 
 
“We will of course maintain our old way of thinking in which we foster our relationships with other countries. But we simply need to have closer ties to some of the companies that affect us,” Samuelsen said. 
 
Denmark has already reaped the benefits of coordinated lobbying efforts aimed at the world’s largest tech companies. Just last week, Facebook announced plans to build a new data centre in Odense. The Foreign Ministry said the Facebook deal was the result of three years of behind-the-scenes work. 
 
Likewise, the Foreign Ministry’s investment organization, Invest in Denmark, worked with Apple for three years before the company announced its plans for a massive data centre in Viborg
 
 
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