Mette Frederiksen

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Mette Frederiksen
Mette Frederiksen 2019.jpg
Frederiksen in 2019
27th Prime Minister of Denmark
Assumed office
27 June 2019
MonarchMargrethe II
Preceded byLars Løkke Rasmussen
Leader of the Social Democrats
Assumed office
28 June 2015
DeputyFrank Jensen
Mogens Jensen
Preceded byHelle Thorning-Schmidt
Leader of the Opposition
In office
28 June 2015 – 27 June 2019
MonarchMargrethe II
Prime MinisterLars Løkke Rasmussen
Preceded byLars Løkke Rasmussen
Succeeded byLars Løkke Rasmussen
Minister of Justice
In office
10 October 2014 – 28 June 2015
Prime MinisterHelle Thorning-Schmidt
Preceded byKaren Hækkerup
Succeeded bySøren Pind
Minister of Employment
In office
3 October 2011 – 10 October 2014
Prime MinisterHelle Thorning-Schmidt
Preceded byInger Støjberg
Succeeded byHenrik Dam Kristensen
Member of the Folketing
Assumed office
20 November 2001
ConstituencyNordjylland (from 2019)
Greater Copenhagen (2007–2019)
Copenhagen (2001–2007)
Personal details
Born (1977-11-19) 19 November 1977 (age 43)
Aalborg, Denmark
Political partySocial Democrats
Erik Harr
(m. 2003; div. 2014)

Bo Tengberg
(m. 2020)
Alma materAalborg University (BA)
University of Copenhagen (MA)

Mette Frederiksen (Danish pronunciation: [ˈmetə ˈfʁeðʁeksn̩]; born 19 November 1977) is a Danish politician who has been Prime Minister of Denmark since June 2019 and Leader of the Social Democrats since June 2015. The second woman to hold either office, she is also the youngest prime minister in Danish history.[1]

Besides a very brief career as a trade unionist (2000–2001), Frederiksen has never had any employment outside politics. She was first elected to the Folketing in the 2001 general election, representing Copenhagen County. After the Social Democrats won the 2011 general election, she was appointed Minister of Employment by Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. She was promoted to Minister of Justice in 2014. After the Social Democrats' narrow defeat in the 2015 general election, Thorning-Schmidt stood down and Frederiksen won the subsequent leadership election to replace her, becoming Leader of the Opposition.[2][3]

Frederiksen led her party into the 2019 general election, which resulted in the bloc of left-wing and centre-left parties (her Social Democrats, the Social Liberals, the Socialist People's Party, the Red–Green Alliance, the Faroese Social Democratic Party and Greenland's Siumut and Inuit Ataqatigiit) winning a majority in the Folketing. Frederiksen was subsequently commissioned by Queen Margrethe II to lead negotiations to form a new government and was sworn in as prime minister on 27 June.

Early life[edit]

Born in the city of Aalborg in North Denmark. Frederiksen's father was a typographer and her mother was a teacher.[2] Frederiksen attended the Aalborghus Gymnasium. She holds a bachelor in Administration and Social Science from Aalborg University, and a Master in African Studies from the University of Copenhagen.[4]

Political career[edit]

Member of Folketing[edit]

Frederiksen in 2009

Frederiksen worked as a youth consultant for LO, The Danish Confederation of Trade Unions.[2] She was elected as a member of parliament for Copenhagen County in the 2001 general election which saw the Social Democrats losing the first place and placing second for the first time since 1920.[2] After her election, Frederiksen was named as her party's spokesperson for culture, media and gender equality.[2] In 2002, she received the Nina Bang Prize for showing political courage, enthusiasm and impact with social feeling.[5] In addition, she received the Ting Prize in 2012 and has co-authored the books Epostler (2003) and From Fight to Culture (2004). After the 2005 general election loss, Frederiksen became her party's spokesperson for social affairs.[2] Following the election, she also served as the vice-chairperson of the parliamentary group of the Social Democrats.[2] In the 2007 general election which saw the Social Democrats losing two more seats, Frederiksen obtained 27,077 votes, placing her in seventh place in the ranking of the ten Danish politicians with the most votes.[6]

In May 2010, it was revealed that Frederiksen's daughter, along with the children of several other prominent Social Democrat politicians, was being educated at a private school.[7] Along with her colleagues, Frederiksen was accused of hypocrisy by the Danish press as her party had long seen the promotion of public education as a key policy.[7] In 2005, Frederiksen had openly criticised parents who sent their children to private schools.[7] Frederiksen responded to the criticism by saying that her opinion on private education had become more nuanced since her remarks in 2005 and that it would have been hypocritical of her to put her own political career ahead of her daughter's best interest.[8] After the 2011 general election which led to a Social Democrats government, Frederiksen served under Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt as Minister for Employment from 2011 to 2014 and Minister of Justice from 2014 until she succeeded her as party leader.[2][3] As Minister of Employment, she headed for reforms of early retirement pensions, flex jobs and the employment system. Likewise, the controversial cash assistance reform meant lower cash benefits for young unemployed and provided cohabiting mutual support, among other things.[9]

Under Frederiksen's leadership starting after the 2015 general election in which the Social Democrats returned to first place and gained three seats in the Folketing, the party has moved back to the left on economic issues while taking a conservative stance on immigration.[10][11]

Prime Minister of Denmark[edit]

20190614 Folkemodet Bornholm Mette Frederiksen Socialdemokratiet 0285 (48063468172) (cropped).jpg
Premiership of Mette Frederiksen
27 June 2019 – present
Mette Frederiksen
CabinetFrederiksen Cabinet
PartySocial Democrats
Appointed byMargrethe II
SeatChristiansborg Palace
Official website

The 2019 general election saw the Social Democrats gaining a further seat while support for the Danish People's Party and the Liberal Alliance collapsed, costing Lars Løkke Rasmussen his majority. With the result beyond doubt on election night, Rasmussen conceded defeat.[12] Frederiksen was appointed Prime Minister on 27 June 2019, heading an exclusively Social Democratic minority government supported by the red bloc.[13][1] Despite having run on an anti-immigration stance during the election, Frederiksen shifted her stance on immigration by allowing more foreign labour and reversing government plans to hold foreign criminals offshore after winning government.[14][15][16]

Frederiksen gained international attention in August 2019 when President of the United States Donald Trump cancelled a state visit to Denmark following her refusal to sell Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark. On 15 August, The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump had discussed the possibility of buying Greenland with aides.[17] Kim Kielsen, the Premier of Greenland, responded by saying that Greenland is not for sale.[18] On 18 August, after the rumor was confirmed by the White House, Frederiksen echoed Kielsen's comments, saying that "Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland", and called the discussion "absurd".[19] On 20 August, Trump cancelled the state visit, scheduled 2–3 September, with specific reference to Frederiksen's refusal to discuss a possible sale.[20][21]

On 3 January 2020, the high-level Iranian General, Qasem Soleimani, was assassinated by the United States, which considerably heightened the existing tensions between the two countries. Frederiksen called it "a really serious situation". She avoided question on whether the killing was right, instead calling for de-escalation.[22]

She has led the Danish Government response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Denmark.[23]

Political positions[edit]


Frederiksen is a vocal opponent of prostitution. For many years, she has strongly advocated the prohibition of the purchase of sex as in Iceland, Norway and Sweden.[24] In 2002, she opened the debate on the prohibition of prostitution and was behind the 2009 congressional decision that the Social Democrats would "work for a ban on the purchase of sexual services".[25]


Frederiksen also became increasingly sceptical of liberal mass immigration as she believes it has had negative impacts for much of the population, a more pressing issue since at least 2001 after the 11 September attacks which intensified during the 2015 European migrant crisis. She has argued that perception of the Social Democrats adopting the Third Way and practicing centrist, neoliberal economics and supporting unrestricted globalisation contributed to the party's poor electoral performance in the early 21st century. In a recent biography, Frederiksen stated: 'For me, it is becoming increasingly clear that the price of unregulated globalisation, mass immigration and the free movement of labour is paid for by the lower classes.'.[10][11]

Under Frederiksen, the Social Democrats voted in favor of a law allowing Danish authorities to confiscate money, jewellery and other valuable items from refugees crossing the border,[26] despite harsh condemnation from the United Nations Human Right Council[27] and widespread comparisons between the plan and the treatment of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe.[28] The Social Democrats voted for a law banning wearing of burqas and niqabs while abstaining during a vote on a law on mandatory handshakes irrespective of religious sentiment at citizenship ceremonies and on a plan to house criminal asylum seekers on a bridgeless island on which they would have to stay at night. Frederiksen also backed the right-wing populist Danish People's Party in their paradigm shift push to make repatriation rather than integration the goal of asylum policy. She has called for a cap on non-Western immigrants, expulsion of asylum seekers to a reception centre in North Africa and forced labour for immigrants in exchange for benefits. Labeling economic foreign policies of Europe as too liberal, Frederiksen has criticised other social democratic parties for losing their voters' trust by failing to prevent globalisation chipping away at labour rights, increasing inequality and exposing them to uncontrolled immigration.[10]

Frederiksen meets with United States President Donald Trump at the 2019 NATO summit

Frederiksen has referred to Islam as a barrier to integration, arguing that some Muslims "do not respect the Danish judicial system", that some Muslim women refuse to work for religious reasons and that Muslim girls are subject to "massive social control" and has called for Muslim schools to be closed.[29]


In 2010, she was critizised for putting her daughter in a private school, because she had been a vocal opponent of private schools, together with other Social Democrats who had put their children in private schools.[30] In 2012, she caused controversy again after putting her son in a private school as well.[31]

In an interview with Kristeligt Dagblad, Frederiksen called for the "closure of all immigrant centres" and for the "resettlement of immigrants in North Africa". These statements were strongly criticised by Morten Østergaard (secretary of the Danish Social Liberal Party - Radical Left) and Cristina Narbona (president of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party), who accused Frederiksen of xenophobia. However, her statements were praised by Sigmar Gabriel (former leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany) in an op-ed for Handelsblatt.[32][33]

In 2020, Frederiksen issued an order to mink farmers to cull millions of these animals in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision later turned out to be unconstitutional.[34]

Personal life[edit]

On 16 July 2020, it was reported that she had married her longtime boyfriend Bo Tengberg, a film director. They were married at the Magleby Church, an affiliate of the Church of Denmark on the island of Møn.[35]


  1. ^ a b "Denmark's youngest prime minister to lead new government". Deutsche Welle. 25 June 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Biography on the website of the Danish Parliament (Folketinget). Accessed on 29 June 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Portræt: Mette Frederiksen skal finde sin egen vej" [Portrait: Mette Frederiksen has to find her own way]. Politiken (in Danish). 20 June 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  4. ^ "List of Danish Prime Ministers Since 1848" (in Danish). Ministry of the State of Denmark. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Nina Bang-prisen til Mette"[permanent dead link] (in Danish). LO. 12 September 2002.
  6. ^ "Mette Frederiksen slog Mogens Lykketoft" (in Danish). DR. 14 November 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  7. ^ a b c "Opposition under fire for picking private schools". The Copenhagen Post. 11 May 2010. Archived from the original on 20 January 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2010.
  8. ^ "Mette Frederiksen: Min datter kommer først". Politiken (in Danish). 6 May 2010. Archived from the original on 9 May 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2010.
  9. ^ "Mette F. om konsekvenser af sin egen reform: Det er jeg oprigtigt ked af". Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  10. ^ a b c Orange, Richard (11 May 2018). "Mette Frederiksen: the anti-immigration left leader set to win power in Denmark". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  11. ^ a b O'Leary, Naomi (6 September 2018). "Danish left veering right on immigration". Politico. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  12. ^ "Denmark election: Social Democrats win as PM admits defeat". BBC News. 6 June 2019. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
  13. ^ Ingvorsen, Emil Søndergård (6 June 2019). "Løkke: Mette Frederiksen udpeget som kongelig undersøger" (in Danish). DR. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  14. ^ "Social Democrats form government in Denmark". Politico. 26 June 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  15. ^ "Denmark gets new left-wing government with plans to increase welfare spending and scrap anti-immigration measures". The Independent. 26 June 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  16. ^ "Denmark becomes third Nordic country to form leftist government this year". The Japan Times. 26 June 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  17. ^ "AP source: Trump has talked about buying Greenland for US". The Washington Post. Associated Press. 15 August 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  18. ^ Sorensen, Martin Selsoe (16 August 2019). "'Greenland Is Not for Sale': Trump's Talk of a Purchase Draws Derision". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  19. ^ "Danish PM says Trump's idea of selling Greenland to U.S. is absurd". Reuters. 18 August 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  20. ^ Karni, Annie (20 August 2019). "Trump Scraps Trip to Denmark, as Greenland Is Not for Sale". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  21. ^ "Trump cancels Denmark visit amid spat over sale of Greenland". BBC. 21 August 2019. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  22. ^ "Mette F. viger uden om spørgsmål om USA-angreb på Iran" [Mette F. avoids question about USA attack on Iran]. Berlingske Tidende. Ritzau. 5 January 2020.
  23. ^ "Analyse: Stilsikker Mette Frederiksen tog corona-stikkene hjem". Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  24. ^ "Socialdemokrater vil forbyde købesex". Berlingske (in Danish). 26 September 2009. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  25. ^ Kristensen, Kim; Kestler, Amalie (20 November 2012). "Købesexforbud har været rødt hjerteblod" (in Danish). Dagbladet Information. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  26. ^ O'Sullivan, Feargus (26 January 2016). "Denmark Will Strip Refugees of Their Valuables". CityLab. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  27. ^ Larson, Nina (21 January 2016). "Danish migrant bill blasted at UN". The Local. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  28. ^ Noack, Rick (26 January 2016). "Denmark wants to seize jewelry and cash from refugees". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  29. ^ Orange, Richard (10 June 2018). "Denmark swings right on immigration – and Muslims feel besieged". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Die SPD sollte sich am Erfolg der dänischen Genossen orientieren (The SPD should be guided by the success of its Danish comrades)". Handelsblatt (in German). 7 June 2019. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  33. ^ Freda, Gerry (15 June 2019). "Danimarca, la leader socialdemocratica annuncia: "Chiuderemo i centri-profughi". Il Giornale (in Italian). Retrieved 15 June 2019.
  34. ^ "Danish PM faces calls to quit over 'illegal' mink cull". Deutsche Welle. 18 November 2020.
  35. ^ Sampson, Annabel (16 July 2020). "Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen finally marries film director boyfriend". Tatler.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Inger Støjberg
Minister of Employment
Succeeded by
Henrik Dam Kristensen
Preceded by
Karen Hækkerup
Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
Søren Pind
Preceded by
Lars Løkke Rasmussen
Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
Lars Løkke Rasmussen
Prime Minister of Denmark
Party political offices
Preceded by
Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Leader of the Social Democrats