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Denmark says it could allow US troops on its soil in new defence deal

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Thursday said Denmark was ready to allow US military troops on its soil as part of a new bilateral defence agreement with the United States.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Thursday that Denmark could allow US troops on its soil as part of a new bilateral defence deal with the United States. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark and the United States will begin negotiations over a new bilateral defence agreement which could mean the presence of American soldiers in Denmark, Frederiksen said at a briefing.

“The United States have reached out to Denmark, proposing a bilateral defence cooperation. The exact nature of this collaboration has not yet been defined but it could include the presence of US troops, materiel and military equipment on Danish soil,” Frederiksen, whose country is a member of NATO, told reporters.

Further details of any agreement are yet to be negotiated, she added.

.“We are pleased that the Unites States has reached out to Denmark with a proposal for a bilateral defence agreement,” the Danish PM said.

“The exact nature of this collaboration has not yet been defined but it could include the presence of US troops, materiel and military equipment on Danish soil,” she continued.

The bilateral agreement is unrelated to the current situation between Ukraine and Russia, Frederiksen also said at the briefing.

READ ALSO: Denmark boosts military preparedness amid Ukraine tensions

But talks between Denmark and the US will be designed to give the Americans better access to Europe, Danish Minister of Defence Morten Bødskov said at the briefing, at which Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod also spoke.

“It is in our interest that the US takes an even more direct part in our security,” Bødskov said.

“This is an agreement that allow further partnerships and more activities at selected military locations in Denmark. It will strengthen our partnership with the United States in several areas,” he said.

Talks between Denmark and the United States will begin in the forthcoming months, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

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REFERENDUMS

Poll suggests Danes ready to scrap EU opt-out in referendum

A new poll indicates a majority of Danes is in favour of scrapping the country’s EU defence opt-out in an upcoming referendum.

Poll suggests Danes ready to scrap EU opt-out in referendum

The poll, conducted by Epinion on behalf of broadcaster DR, shows 38 percent of voters in favour of revoking the opt-out, compared with 27 percent who want to retain it.

28 percent said they do not know how they will vote, meaning there is still plenty of potential for both a “yes” and “no” outcome in the June 1st vote.

An earlier poll, conducted in March, put the two sides closer, with 38 percent of eligible voters then saying they would vote ‘yes’ to scrapping the opt-out, with 31 percent saying they would vote ‘no’ and 31 percent saying they didn’t know.

The government announced in March a June 1st referendum in which citizens will decide whether to overturn Denmark’s opt-out from EU defence policy. The referendum was called following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Denmark’s opt-out – retsforbehold in Danish – is one of four EU special arrangements negotiated by the Scandinavian country, and has seen it abstain from participation in EU military operations and from providing support or supplies to EU-led defence efforts.

READ ALSO: Why does Denmark have four EU ‘opt-outs’ and what do they mean?

In April, the wording of the question on voting ballots for the referendum was changed, following objections from politicians opposed to scrapping the opt-out.

According to a breakdown of the new poll, younger voters and women are the most undecided groups. 20 percent of men said they were unsure how to vote compared to 38 percent of women.

Among 18-34 year-olds, 39 percent were unsure how they would vote compared to 22 percent of voters over the age of 56 who have yet to decide how to cast their votes.

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