Anders Fogh Rasmussen, born in 1953, has been the prime minister of Denmark since 2001. Anders Fogh Rasmussen was born in Ginnerup on the Jutland Peninsula. He was educated at the Viborg Cathedral School and Århus University, where he studied economics. While at school he was a cofounder of the Young Liberals, the youth wing of Denmark’s free-market Liberal Party (Venstre in Danish). Shortly after his graduation in 1978, Rasmussen won a seat in the Folketing, the Danish parliament, as a member of the Liberal Party.
Rasmussen served in the center-right government of Poul Schlüter (leader of the Conservative People’s Party) as minister for taxation from 1987 to 1992 and as minister for economic affairs from 1990 to 1992. Rasmussen was forced to resign from both posts following accusations that he had provided the Folketing with inaccurate information. In 1998 Rasmussen became leader of the Liberal Party.
In the November 2001 national elections, Rasmussen’s Liberal Party emerged as the largest party in the Folketing. Rasmussen succeeded Social Democratic Party leader Poul Nyrup Rasmussen as prime minister, forming a minority coalition government with the Conservative People’s Party. As prime minister, Rasmussen pledged to halt the growth of taxes, reward individual initiative, and maintain Denmark’s social welfare system.
Upon taking office, Rasmussen announced a freeze on taxes coupled with some spending cuts. Nevertheless, public expenditures in Denmark continued to grow at a rate exceeding the annual inflation rate. Rasmussen also declared that his government would impose tough new restrictions to reduce immigration to Denmark. The restrictive measures were passed into law in July 2002, and by 2004 immigration had plunged by nearly 80 percent.
Many European political analysts speculate that he is a likely candidate to become the first president of the EU, although Rasmussen has not outwardly expressed interest in that position.
Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2008