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Business mogul has plans for Danish-German powerhouse in southern Denmark

With his vision of Digital Valley, a digital powerhouse spanning across Funen, southern Jutland and northern Germany, businessman and Chairman of the Board of Danfoss Jørgen Mads Clausen intends to create cross-border cooperation.
Chairman of Danfoss Jørgen Mads Clausen want to create a Digital Valley and urges Danish business leaders to reach across the border to Germany.

Publiceret: 07.06.2018
Af Lars Bøgeskov mail

“Growth and development across borders” was the title of talk given by Chairman of Danfoss Jørgen Mads Clausen at the Business Summit DI South Jutland on 31 May.

“But it’s not working,” Jørgen Mads Clausen lamented from the stage.

“And it’s your fault.”

The surprise was palpable among the sixty business leaders gathered in Aabenraa. But the call-out proved justified.

When Jørgen Mads Clausen subsequently asked who among the audience knew senior executives south of the border, only seven people raised their hands.

“That says it all. If we are to generate mutual growth and development in our region, it is crucial that we have networks and partnerships in Germany. We don’t. You directors don’t know the business leaders on the other side of the border. You know the cashier in the border shop, but that isn’t enough. Meanwhile, only few people commute between the two countries. This prevents us from using each other to increase growth,” said Jørgen Mads Clausen.

The lacking Danish-German business partnerships and municipal cooperation is the first of three main issues that the former Danfoss CEO intends to tackle in coming years. His aim is to create a common job market, increased trade and strengthened business partnerships along the axis Odense-Sønderborg-Flensburg-Kiel-Hamburg.

See also: Denmark is becoming more competitive but we can do more

Permanent link to Funen

The second aim in the Digital Valley project is the creation of an eleven-kilometre long tunnel connecting Als in southern Jutland to Funen. According to calculations by Rambøll, such a connection will result in more dynamic growth than all other South Jutland traffic projects, with the exception of an expansion of the motorway south of Odense.

“Here, we have two regions that are close in proximity but have been prevented from cooperating due to a channel of water. That’s why a link is so important. The transport advantages are obvious, and Rambøll’s calculations indicate that there are grounds for expecting an increase in the exchange of labour, ideas and trade between Funen and South Jutland. I therefore have high hopes for the tunnel’s realisation,” said Jørgen Mads Clausen.

The first task for the businessman will be to convince politicians in the Region of Southern Denmark to prioritise the project. After that, the lobbying at Christiansborg begins. Jørgen Mads Clausen hopes to take part in cutting the ribbon when the connection opens in 2035.

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Bigger airport in Sønderborg

A project that is a great deal closer to realisation is Jørgen Mads Clausen’s third ambition: an expanded Sønderborg airport with far more departures.

“Sønderborg Airport only has three toilets. It’s much too small,” said Jørgen Mads Clausen.

An expansion of the airport is already underway, and a bigger runway will soon follow, says the businessman. The problem is getting more routes to Sønderborg.

“Attracting routes is far more difficult than you would think. But we’re working on it,” said Jørgen Mads Clausen, noting that Sønderborg Airport is the closest airport for approximately one million people. Only Copenhagen Airport exceeds this.

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You know the cashier in the border shop, but that isn’t enough.
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PUBLISHED: 6/7/2018 LAST MODIFIED: 6/7/2018