US Secretary of State Pompeo to visit Denmark

The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, will visit Copenhagen on July 22nd, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed.

US Secretary of State Pompeo to visit Denmark
Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod (L) and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, D.C. in November 2019. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

Pompeo will meet with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and subsequently with Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod.

“I look forward to welcoming my good colleague Mike Pompeo when, on one of his few trips at this unusual time, makes a stop in Copenhagen,” Kofod said in a ministry statement.

“The United States is a close friend of Denmark and absolutely our closest ally. The Danish-American relationship goes back a long way and I look forward to reaffirming our close relations at the meeting,” he added.

News agency Reuters reports Pompeo as saying that China's treatment of Hong Kong will be high on the agenda, a topic he is also expected address in the United Kingdom during the same trip to Europe.

The two foreign ministers will have the opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics during a “working lunch” scheduled for Pompeo’s visit.


“This gives us a unique opportunity to talk about global issues of common interest such as security, trade and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on international cooperation,” Kofod said.

The Arctic region is also expected to be given high priority. Foreign affairs ministers from Greenland and the Faroe Islands have been invited to participate in the visit.

“Since we will discuss Arctic matters, my colleagues from Greenland and the Faroe Islands must naturally also sit at the table. I personally attach crucial importance to this,” Kofod said in the ministry statement.

US president Donald Trump cancelled a planned visit to Denmark in the autumn of 2019 after his unilateral speculations about the United States buying Greenland from Denmark were dismissed by Frederiksen.

Kofod previously met with Pompeo in late 2019.


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US ambassador criticises Denmark’s military budget, despite increase

The United States’ ambassador to Denmark wants politicians to allocate more money to defence than is currently earmarked.

US ambassador criticises Denmark’s military budget, despite increase
US Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Ritzau Scanpix

Parliament this week decided to increase the national defence budget by 4.5 billion kroner (600 million euros) by 2024, but the move was described as “far from enough” by the US ambassador Carla Sands, newspaper Børsen reports.

The 4.5 billion kroner-figure incorporates an additional 1.5 billion kroner into already-planned defence budget increases, the newspaper writes.

That means that Denmark’s defence budget will, by 2023, constitute 1.5 percent of the country’s GDP, compared to 1.3 percent today.

Sands said the amount was not enough, noting that Denmark pledged in 2014 to work towards a level equivalent to 2 percent of GDP.

“A discussion is required amongst Danish politicians as to how they will reach the targets they themselves have set. How will we get there?”, the ambassador said to Børsen according to the newspaper’s report.

Minister of Defence Claus Hjort Frederiksen did not wish to be interviewed in response to the ambassador’s comments, but told Børsen in an email that the increased money spent on defence “is a good development which ought to please our allies”.

Denmark has desired to reach a similar level of defence spending as countries like Germany, according to the report.

That would give Copenhagen a response to pressure from US president Donald Trump, who has repeatedly voiced his view that Nato member countries should increase the proportion of GDP spent on defence.

Although Sands criticised Danish politicians, she praised the country’s soldiers as “brave and skilled”, Børsen writes. Their presence in areas of conflict “where few would engage” made Denmark a “formidable ally”, she said.

Sands, a former chiropractor, board chairperson and actress with no previous diplomatic experience, was appointed ambassador to Denmark by Trump in 2017.

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