The new Government has a strong EU focus.
"We take EU issues very seriously. We want to help shape the EU as much as possible - both during the Danish EU Presidency, and afterwards," says Nicolai Wammen.
"I believe that the Presidency must have a clear direction. We have good opportunities to influence the EU in a positive direction during the six months when Denmark has the primary responsibility," he says.
Above the clouds
The Minister is very active in networking with relevant colleagues in Europe.
"I meet with as many colleagues as I can to form an impression of what outlook they have. At the same time, it’s a significant opportunity to tell them about the themes of the Danish Presidency. I have, so to speak, got my season ticket to the European Parliament. They are extremely important partners during the Danish Presidency - and so are my European and Foreign Minister colleagues," says Nicolai Wammen while seated in the busy lounge area on the sixth floor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
But the Minister is not going to spend many hours in the office chair. There are many trips around Europe. However, he is okay with much time spent above the clouds.
"There are many miles to be travelled by plane, but it's part of the job and absolutely necessary," he says.
Nicolai Wammen sees the role as Minister as a good challenge in contrast to local and national politics, where he for several years had his eyes on being the Mayor of Aarhus.
"I am delighted that each day brings new experiences and new information and knowledge," says Nicolai Wammen.
Already as a student of political science at Aarhus University, the Minister for European Affairs was very much interested in international politics. In his thesis he looked beyond Danish borders, and wrote about the Danish Security Policy in relation to the other NATO countries.
"I have, of course, been more involved in local and national politics, so for me it is a great pleasure to be able to try out international politics, which I'm very interested in and have followed alongside my previous jobs," he says with a big smile and continues:
"The EU is an important part of the Danish debate. Not least in connection with the crisis the EU faces right now, there's an incredible amount of national focus on European issues. I think it is very important that there’s a lively and also critical debate about the EU. If we did not have the EU, we would have to invent it. "
The EU is not perfect
One of the overall messages of the Minister for European Affairs is that the wheels in Europe must start spinning again.
"There are many practical steps that lie ahead of us where we, the Government - and I as Minister for European Affairs - have a special responsibility. We want to ensure that jobs are created, not just for all the young people who are without jobs, but all around," he says.
He believes in ensuring that the EU can survive in international competition with, for example, China and the US, India and other major economies - and also enlarge the EU.
"The EU must continue to be a peace project and democracy project for those who want to be part of the family and meet the necessary requirements, too," says Nicolai Wammen. "The EU is not perfect and that’s also one of the reasons that we from the Danish side would like to further develop the internal market, to ensure greater fiscal discipline amongst the countries, and to put forward an even greener agenda," he continues.
The locomotive heads for growth
But what is the ambition of the Danish Presidency? What would the Minister like to be measured on when Denmark in the summer of 2012 passes on the Presidency to Cyprus?
"I hope to be able to say that Denmark has contributed to the EU getting through the crisis in the best way possible. I hope we have succeeded in creating a greener Europe and that we have set a growth agenda which means that jobs will be created," he says.
Among the more concrete things that the Government would like to have adopted is the energy-saving directive.
"It will mean that we get a much higher energy-saving standard in the EU than we have today. Not only must a country like Denmark with five million people focus on a climate agenda, but all 500 million EU citizens have to. That will also be a strong message as we approach the Rio +20 conference, where we want the EU to speak with a strong common voice," says Nicolai Wammen, who hopes on 1 July 2012 to sit with his feet in water enjoying both the Danish summer, and that Cyprus will have taken over from a successful Danish EU Presidency.