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Karen Ellemann new NCM Secretary General

Karen Ellemann new NCM Secretary General

| Text: Björn Lindahl, photo:

Karen Ellemann is the next Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers. She is seen as a heavy-weight candidate taking up a central post for the Nordic cooperation.

Karen Ellemann is currently a Danish MP representing the Liberal Party. She has held various ministerial roles in the Danish government, including Minister of the Interior and Social Affairs, Minister of the Environment and Minister of Equality. She has also been Minister for Nordic Cooperation during two periods.

“The Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers plays an important role in our shared vision of the Nordic Region being the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. Karen Ellemann is well qualified for this role, and we look forward to working with her,” says Norway’s Minister for Nordic Co-operation, Anne Beate Tvinnereim.

Norway holds the Presidency of the Council of Ministers this year.

“I’m very pleased to be entrusted with the role of Secretary General. In light of the situation the world now finds itself in, Nordic cooperation appears more relevant than it has done for many years. I’m therefore looking forward to embarking on this incredibly exciting role together with all my Nordic colleagues in Copenhagen and at the institutions the length and breadth of the Nordic Region,” says Karen Ellemann.

Ellemann trained as a preschool teacher and held a range of leadership positions in the private sector before entering politics. She has been a member of the Danish parliament since 2007.

She comes from a well-known political family. Her father, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, was leader of the Liberals between 1984 and 1998 as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs between 1982 and 1993. Karen Ellemann’s brother, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, is the current leader of the Liberals after being elected in September 2019.

Karen Ellemann takes on her new role on 1 January 2023, after Paula Lehtomäki. Her appointment happened after a slightly different than usual process where candidates from all five Nordic countries and the three autonomous regions were invited to apply. Until then, the position had been held in turn by the Nordic countries. 

The result was a Danish winner while it was also Denmark’s turn to hold the post.

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