The new Danish prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, emphasized in her first official press meeting that meeting the Danes will be a priority for the government from now until Christmas:
“The ministers of the government want to lead when it comes to listening. That’s why there toward Christmas will be made a model where we have a so-called reception for the citizens. All ministers will have that, it will last for two hours, and it will be at different places around the country that we will have this kind of audience. It’s an old tradition that we resume and all ministers will be a part of it.”
(Time 1:40, my translation. Danes – feel free to suggest better wording in the comments box).
(In Danish: Regeringens ministre ønsker at gå forrest med det her med at lytte. Og derfor vil der frem mod jul skabes en model, hvor vi vil have en såkaldt modtagelse for borgene. Det vil alle ministre have, det vil af varighed af to timer, og det vil være forskellige steder i landet at vi vil have den her slags foretræde. Det er en gammel tradition som vi nu tager op igen og som alle ministrene går i gang med.)
Meeting the Danes is done the old school way – time-consuming and physical – and that’s a good thing. The ministers have a Copenhagen-bias (based on where they live, not necessarily their policies), so being seen around the country and allowing as many different people as possible to meet a minister is positive.
The ”Meet the Danes” initiative is probably more of interest to the local press than the national press. It has so far not gained much media attention. The Danish press has focused on the economy and the acquisitions form the opposition about broken promises.
It will be interesting to see whether this initiative will be followed by more “We want to listen” initiatives from the Socialdemocratic prime minister and her government, and whether digital communication will become a part of it.
Like many other Danish politicians, Helle Thorning-Schmidt used Facebook actively in the election campaign, and she has led the “Facebook race” among Danish politicians for a long time, with over 137.000 “likes” today. Nevertheless, she has also been accused of not engaging in the dialogue with the fans on Facebook herself, and therefore it will be interesting to see how far she will take the “listening agenda”, now that she has become the prime minister.