Lene Espersen
Deputy Prime Minister of Denmark
In office
10 September 2008 – 13 January 2011
Prime MinisterAnders Fogh Rasmussen
Lars Løkke Rasmussen
Preceded byBendt Bendtsen
Succeeded byLars Barfoed
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
23 February 2010 – 3 October 2011
Prime MinisterLars Løkke Rasmussen
Preceded byPer Stig Møller
Succeeded byVilly Søvndal
Minister of Economic and Business Affairs
In office
10 September 2008 – 23 February 2010
Prime MinisterAnders Fogh Rasmussen
Lars Løkke Rasmussen
Preceded byBendt Bendtsen
Succeeded byBrian Mikkelsen
Leader of the Conservative People's Party
In office
9 September 2008 – 13 January 2011
Preceded byBendt Bendtsen
Succeeded byLars Barfoed
Minister of Justice
In office
27 November 2001 – 10 September 2008
Prime MinisterAnders Fogh Rasmussen
Preceded byFrank Jensen
Succeeded byBrian Mikkelsen
Personal details
Born (1965-09-26) 26 September 1965 (age 56)
Hirtshals, Denmark
Political partyConservative People's Party
Spouse(s)Danny Feltmann
Alma materUniversity of Aarhus

Lene Espersen (born 26 September 1965) is a former Danish politician and former leader of Conservative People's Party, as well as former Minister of Justice. She is the current CEO at the Danish Association of Architectural Firms. From 1 July 2016 to June 30, 2020, she served as chairman of the board of Aalborg University.

In 2006, Espersen was stripped of her parliamentary immunity after crashing into a woman on a scooter. She was subsequently banned from driving and fined €150.[1]

Early life

Born to a fisherman father and a book-keeper mother, she grew up with her younger sister in Hirtshals in the north of Jutland, on Denmark’s mainland.[2] She attended Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific in Canada. She later became the first in her family to graduate from university.

Political career

Espersen was the first person in her family to join a political party.[3] A member of parliament (Folketinget) from 1994, she served as Minister of Justice from 27 November 2001 to 10 September 2008 and as Minister of Economic and Business Affairs from 10 September 2008 to 23 February 2010.

Espersen served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 23 February 2010 to 3 October 2011, making her Denmark’s first female foreign minister and the only woman in such a post in the EU at the time.[4]

Espersen was the leader of the Conservative People's Party and Deputy Prime Minister from 9 September 2008[5] to 13 January 2011.

On 13 January 2011, she announced at a press conference at 19.00 pm, briefly after her arrival in Denmark, that she would not continue as leader of The Conservatives.[6] The announcement came after months of increasing pressure, where various issues regarding her work ethics, had gained national attention, and decreasing support in opinion polls for The Conservative party. During her tenure as political leader, support for the Conservative People's Party was reduced from around 10% to below 5%. On 14 January, Lars Barfoed succeeded Lene Espersen as political leader of the Conservative People's Party.[7]

Other activities

Political positions

When Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005, Espersen defended its right to publish and labelled Muslim extremism more dangerous than climate change.[10] In 2012, in her capacity as foreign minister, she met with 17 ambassadors from Muslim countries as part of efforts to prevent any new cartoon crisis and to foster understanding.[11]

References

Notes

  1. ^ Jarle Hetland (April 7, 2010), Teflon Aunt European Voice.
  2. ^ Jarle Hetland (April 7, 2010), Teflon Aunt European Voice.
  3. ^ Denmark’s six-month EU presidency: a guide to the country’s key players European Voice, June 26, 2002.
  4. ^ Jarle Hetland (April 7, 2010), Teflon Aunt European Voice.
  5. ^ "Enstemmig opbakning til Espersen" (in Danish). Politiken. 2008-09-09. Archived from the original on 2008-09-12. Retrieved 2008-09-10.
  6. ^ "UPDATE 2-Danish Conservative leader quits under pressure". Reuters. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 2017-06-29.
  7. ^ "Barfoed taler til pressen". 14 January 2011. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  8. ^ Lene Espersen new Chairman of Baltic Development Forum Baltic Development Forum, press release of February 7, 2014.
  9. ^ 2009 Annual Report European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
  10. ^ Jarle Hetland (April 7, 2010), Teflon Aunt European Voice.
  11. ^ David Cutler (April 11, 2012), TIMELINE-Cartoons bring attackers to Scandinavia Reuters.
Political offices Preceded byFrank Jensen Minister of Justice 2001–2008 Succeeded byBrian Mikkelsen Preceded byBendt Bendtsen Deputy Prime Minister of Denmark 2008–2011 Title abolished Minister of Economic and Business Affairs 2008–2010 Succeeded byBrian Mikkelsen Preceded byPer Stig Møller Minister of Foreign Affairs 2010–2011 Succeeded byVilly Søvndal Party political offices Preceded byBendt Bendtsen Leader of the Conservative People's Party 2008–2011 Succeeded byLars Barfoed