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Egon Fræhr: Set goals, tone down the ideological political dialogue, and focus on practical processes

Egon Fræhr: Set goals, tone down the ideological political dialogue, and focus on practical processes

An interview with the Mayor of Vejen, Denmark

Egon Fræhr was elected to the municipal council in 1998 and he is a member of the Liberal Party. In 2002, he became the Mayor of Brørup Municipality which ceased to exist after the 2007 Kommunalreformen (Municipality Reform).

That is, Brørup merged with the municipalities of Holsted, Rødding, and Vejen to form Vejen Municipality. Fræhr has been the Mayor of Vejen Municipality since 2007.

Mayor Egon Fræhr, how would you describe Vejen and what would you say is its biggest attraction?

It’s attractive for many people to live in Vejen and run a business here because of our central location in South Denmark. We have a spacious countryside and many forms of housing, both in towns and in the countryside.

We have a varied nature, ideal for an active outdoor life. And we also have one of the biggest indoor sports facilities in the country in Vejen. The culture is diverse, including a nationally known art museum.

You have been a mayor for almost twenty years now. How has Vejen changed and evolved during your time in office?

Vejen Municipality has developed in several ways. In particular, more companies and jobs have emerged. The infrastructure has improved for everyone. The profile of the Municipality has changed from mainly exercising control and authority to now being a service organisation helping citizens and companies.

What would you say has been your greatest achievement and what was the biggest challenge you faced?

Everything accomplished is due to the good collaboration in the city council. First, the merger of four municipalities. Our focus has always been to have goals and strategies, which has led to many improvements and good results.

I’m proud to say, that we have become a more business-friendly municipality, our care of the elderly has improved, and we have better schools. Over the years, there has also been a much-needed modernization of many municipal buildings.

How has Vejen, its community and businesses, been affected by the pandemic?

Vejen has done okay in relation to the number of sick, and so far, local lockdowns have been tolerable. Our elderly and schoolchildren have been affected the most because of the lack of socializing.

What measures did you find most effective in containing the spread of the virus and helping businesses in your municipality?

Our use of online meetings, communication and teaching has been a great help in keeping up a functioning municipality during the whole period. Good, dedicated employees who have performed at all times for the benefit of the citizens.

As a Mayor with a lot of experience, what advice would you give to other European leaders?

Listen to the needs of the citizens and companies and to their perception of the municipality. Set goals and tone down the ideological political dialogue and focus on practical processes. A good and trusting relationship in the city council is also very important.

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