Marie Bjerre: The next liberal star of Denmark

Alliance of Her alumnae Marie Bjerre has been all over the Danish press lately. They call her a “superstar”, and the next rising star of her party, Venstre. Now she wants the liberal member party to be established as the climate party. We caught up with Marie to get the latest on what she’s up to and why climate needs to be at the centre of what comes next for Denmark, and the EU.

1. Firstly – how did Venstre’s annual Congress go?

Venstre's Congress went very well. With more than 1,700 Venstre members we celebrated our party’s 150+1 year anniversary. We weren’t able to meet and celebrate last year due to COVID-19. So just being able to meet again was fantastic. I myself was on the scene to speak about climate, more specifically why fighting for the climate agenda is a liberal issue and why the climate crisis calls for liberal solutions.

2. How did you first get involved with Venstre as a party? Was it always your ambition to turn the party more Green?

I got involved with Venstre in my youth. I was only 15 years old when I got interested in politics and I became a member of Venstres Ungdom (the liberal youth). I had a lot of years in between though where I wasn't active in the party but rather dedicated to my previous career as an attorney.

The climate agenda has become a more and more important issue to me. In my election campaign for Folketinget in 2019, I was primarily campaigning on a climate agenda with issues ranging for increased recycling and an emphasis on a circular economy.

3. Why does Venstre, and Denmark need a good liberal climate agenda?

I believe fighting for the climate is core to liberal politics. Because fighting for a better climate is part of a freedom agenda. It is about fighting for freedom and giving the same possibilities we had to the next generation. Also, it is our duty to not leave a heavy climate debt to the next generation.

4. Venstre is competing in Denmark with other parties on the green agenda – what are you doing to show that Venstre is the best option?

The best and most effective answers on the climate crisis are liberal answers. The green agenda is no more just a question about being against the market, as the left parties traditionally propose. The climate agenda is a question on how the global market, business and technology can bring the green transition. We must call for liberal solutions where we create incitements for companies and people to think more climate friendly, because that’s the best choice. Also, a green transition needs investments and a call for international corporation. That’s also a crucial point where we differ from other parties.

5. What’s in it for businesses to be green in Denmark? Do you think this goes wider than Denmark?

Being green is definitely a business adventure too. I hope that Denmark can be the front runner on many green solutions as we have been with windmills.

6. What’s the biggest challenge in moving Venstre in a green direction?

That the green agenda has been traditionally seen as left-wing only policy priority. But as stated above the climate agenda priorities have moved – the challenge is to demonstrate that.

7. What would you suggest to other women who want to be the next rising stars of their parties?

Work hard. Nothing comes easy to those who wait.

8. How has being a mother of two young children shaped the way you do politics?

As stressful as being a parent can be, it can also give just as much calmness. I don’t let myself stress to much about my political life or failures, because I know and I feel that being a parent is my most important job.

9. Finally, I have to ask - How has the Alliance of Her (formally European Women’s Academy) helped get you where you are now?

I feel I’ve become a better leader by participating in EWA. For one thing, I learned to be better at story telling when trying to explain my politics.

Find out more about Marie by visiting her webpage 

Find out more about the Alliance of Her here, Europe’s first programme dedicated to empowering women into liberal positions.

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