For decades in the vanguard of Danish politics. Member of Parliament for the Social Democratic Party since 1981. Served in the 1960ies as leader of the Social Democratic Students. Graduated in economics at the University of Copenhagen in 1971.
In the 1970’ies head of the Economic Council of the Danish Labour Movement, an economic think tank established by the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions and the Social Democratic Party.
Served as Minister for taxation 1981-1982. Served 1982-1993 with Social Democratic Party in opposition as chair of several Parliament Committees and as the key negotiator on economic policy with the centre-right government at the time. 1993-2000 Minister for Finance, the longest serving in a century, and chief architect for economic reform that reduced unemployment from 12 to 4 percent and brought surplus of budget and foreign account. Minister for Foreign Affairs 2000-2001. Opposition Party Leader 2002-2005, and Foreign policy spokesperson 2005-2011. Speaker (president) of Parliament 2011-2015. President of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly 2015-2016 – presiding over the approval of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement, and introducing the new process of public hearing in the GA of candidates for Secretary-General
Has written numerous books and articles about political ideas, economy and foreign affairs
‘The Danish Model’ 2009 is about the successful development of Danish welfare and ‘flexicurity’.
Books in Danish together with Mette Holm on China and Myanmar as well as ‘Serving the World’ 2017 (e-book and print on demand at Amazon) about the experience in the UN as President.
Had a weekly TV-programme on international affairs together with former Liberal foreign minister Uffe Ellemann from 2010-2016 on national Danish TV2News. Now in the same cooperation a monthly TV-program at DK4.
Awarded by Chile for support against the Pinochet dictatorship and Officer of the French Legion of Honour for the work as UN-president