Engage 2017 blev afholdt den 27. maj på Refshaleøen, og er Danmarks største veteranfestival. Over 6.000 mennesker mødte op til fest og god musik. Det er Veteranfonden, som er arrangør af Engage, og det var første år for festivalen, som blev afviklet med stor succes.

Herunder kan du læse talen af formanden for Folk & Sikkerhed, Peter Michaels Andersen. De øvrige talere var H.K.H. Prins Joachim, Forsvarsminister Claus Hjorth Frederiksen og initiativtager til Engage og direktør Jeppe Michael Jensen.

Your Royal Highness, Mr. Minister of Defense, Mr. Ambassador, Honored guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I stand here in my capacity as chairman for the nationwide association People and Security (in Danish: “Folk & Sikkerhed”), with approximately 60,000 direct and indirect members and member associations. People and Security is Denmark’s largest association dealing with issues related to the “Robust Society” – the Police, the Emergency Management Agency as well as – and in particular – the Armed Forces and the Home Guard – and in this respect also Defense- and Security Policy. For the past 1 ½ year, our organization have assisted Jeppe in making today possible.

I also stand here as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserves – and as a former Balkan-veteran serving in Bosnia at approximately the same time as Jeppe.

And finally, I stand here as an old friend of Jeppe. I actually facilitated Jeppe’s first job in the festival business, when he was a young law student – a job which lead Jeppe to becoming the managing director of the same company growing the annual revenue from 0 to more than 1 billion kroner. More about that at the end of my short speech.

The world-wide security has been rapidly decreasing for the last three-to-four years, and the global security situation is serious. There are increasing tensions all most all over the World – not only far away from Denmark and Europe, but now also in our vicinity – even within our countries.

It is extremely difficult to identify any obvious and – especially – immediate solutions to the tensions in the various conflict zones. And it is IMPOSSIBLE to foresee what tomorrow, next week, next month and next years will bring. Unpredictability seems to be the key-word when assessing the global security situation of today.

Therefore, it has been surprising – and worrying – to have been witness to the action – or more accurately: the lack of action – by many European governments and parliaments and members of NATO to this entirely different security situation. As the Danish professor at University of Copenhagen, Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen, stated last week when announcing his new book – “What is war and peace today?”: “It is about time that the politicians wake up from their beauty sleep”.

After the NATO mini-summit a couple of days ago – fortunately – it seems as if the politicians of NATO have in fact realized that the rather dramatic change in the security situation will not solve itself. It will require a substantially increased effort from all NATO members.

From the early 1990’s until 2014 Denmark had constantly deployed between 1,000 and 2,000 troops abroad, primarily in the Balkans, in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Currently, Denmark has 3-400 troops deployed, primarily in Iraq, Afghanistan and Mali and – from the end of this year – also in Estonia.

In the years to come, there is no doubt that the need for servicemen and women for international operations will increase. And, accordingly, there is no doubt that a continuing focus on veterans and the veteran cause is equally important, because we all know that freedom and democracy comes at a price – or to put it simply:

Freedom isn’t free.

This is why an event like today – as well as all the other initiatives regarding the Veteran cause – is so important.

Jeppe – back to you. As mentioned in the beginning, I facilitated your first job in the festival business – but this ends my credit for why we are here today. The credit is all yours!!!

It has been a privilege, a pleasure – and an honor – for me, People & Security and our organization as well as a lot of volunteers to assist you in making Engage possible.

Personally, I am – truly and deeply – impressed of your dedication, your devotion to the cause as well as your profound professionalism. We hope that we will have a great festival today. But first and foremost, we hope that this day will mark the day for a long-lasting relationship between you and us as well as all the other veteran-organizations in Denmark.

Thank you