Insurance & Pension Denmark (IPD) said this morning the country’s pension funds are keen to invest in the government’s plan to make the North Sea “a green power plant for the whole of Europe”.

The backing comes as Dutch, German, Belgian and Danish heads of state and government, along with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, meet in Esbjerg to discuss the plans.

Kent Damsgaard, chief executive officer of the lobby group, said: “In order for us to achieve our own goals in the field of energy, it is absolutely necessary that Denmark and our neighbour countries set the ambitions for green energy development as high as this.”

The plan also opened up opportunities for Danish exports and jobs, he said.

“Our industry has long wanted a larger goal in this area, and we are ready with green investments,” Damsgaard said.

Today’s summit in the West Danish port town will focus on “the central role offshore wind plays in freeing the EU of fossil fuels, and how the North Sea can become a green powerhouse for the EU,” according to a statement from the Danish Prime Minister’s office.

At the meeting, the countries will set a common vision for the development of offshore wind and associated infrastructure in the North Sea, it said.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Europe had to be independent of Russian gas as soon as possible. ”Denmark will take the lead and pave the way for the North Sea to become a green power plant for the whole of Europe based on Danish technology and Danish experience,” she said.

IPD said plans to expand such energy production capacity by 2050, which would cover the needs of up to 230m Europeans, required investments of more than DKK1trn (€134bn).

Damsgaard said it was now a matter of getting the concrete framework in place as soon as possible so the plans materialised.

Separately, IPD spoke out today against the Danish government’s proposed financial sector tax, which has been in the pipeline since the summer of 2020 as a means of paying for the early retirement pension, dubbed the “Arne pension” – a flagship policy of the then new Social Democrat government.

Damsgaard said IPD was taking part in a consultation on the issue today, convened by the opposition Liberal Party’s tax spokeswoman, Louise Schack Elholm, with Minister of Taxation Jeppe Bruus being called upon to explain how the special tax would affect Danish insurance and pension customers.

“Inflation is currently at the highest level in 40 years, which only makes it even more problematic to introduce a special tax on Danish insurance and pension companies, which will ultimately make it more expensive for Danes to insure themselves and save up for old age,” he said.

“We need the exact opposite,” the CEO said.

The government and the other parties behind the political agreement owed the Danes an answer to the criticism of the special tax that had been levelled by economists from several sides, he said.

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