Denmark initiates talks on boosted military spending

Initial political discussions over the options for strengthening Denmark’s military and defence and been set in motion, according to the prime minister’s office.

Danish soldiers parade during national Flag Day
Danish soldiers parade during national Flag Day, September 2021. The country has begun political talks over boosted military spending. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The talks, which are at an early stage, were begun as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

They were confirmed by the leader of the Conservative party, Søren Pape Poulsen, who told news wire Ritzau that he and fellow opposition party leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen of the Liberal party had been at the discussions.

Left wing parties Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) and the Socialist People’s party are also reported to have been represented, according to Danish media Altinget.

Future military and defence policies were on the agenda for the talks.

Poulsen told Ritzau that an immediate cash injection for the Danish military had been discussed as well a possible referendum on the opt-out Denmark currently has in place with regard to EU defence laws.

The EU opt-out, which Denmark has had since 1992, means that Denmark does not participate in forming and implementing EU decisions and acts that are related to defence.

Denmark is currently under a target of NATO contributions of 2 percent of GDP agreed by NATO member states in 2014. The current defence spending plan runs until 2023 and the next one must seek to address the shortfall, Pape said.

“It’s crucial for us that any agreement in principle on Danish defence and security includes an agreement to reach the 2 percent of GDP in the next defence budget. And that we thereby bolster and strengthen our military. That’s more important than ever,” Poulsen said.

Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen has previously informed parliament that a defence budget of 2 percent of GDP by 2030 would require an additional 17.9 billion kroner to be spent on defence annually than it is currently.

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Could Denmark benefit from Swedish and Finnish Nato membership?

Turkey has dropped its objections to Sweden and Finland joining Nato, paving the way for the two Nordic nations to join the North Atlantic defence alliance. Could Denmark benefit?

Could Denmark benefit from Swedish and Finnish Nato membership?

Sweden and Finland appear closer to joining Nato after a major stumbling block appeared to be cleared on Wednesday.

Nato on Wednesday evening said that the foreign ministers of Turkey, Sweden and Finland had all signed a trilateral memorandum which addressed “Türkiye’s legitimate security concerns”. 

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Nato leaders would as a result now be able to issue a formal invitation to Sweden and Finland to join the alliance. 

Denmark stands to gain political weight and status within the defence alliance once Sweden and Finland are members, a Danish military analyst said.

“From a security politics point of view, this would give a close Nordic alliance within Nato,” Hans Peter Michaelsen, military analyst at the University of Copenhagen’s Centre for Military Studies, told news wire Ritzau.

Swedish and Finnish Nato membership could also benefit Denmark militarily, he said.

“Denmark, Sweden and Finland could now support each other militarily,” he said.

“We can complement each other with our different strengths. We can begin to look at distributing burdens internally between the countries. I’m thinking of areas such as the Baltic Sea region here,” he said.

Sweden has a strong navy which is attentive to the Baltic Sea, he noted.

“That means that Nato will command an area where Russia otherwise perhaps did not feel threatened,” he said.

“That will make the Russians consider their future strategy in the region,” he said.

Stoltenberg also cited the Baltic Sea region following the withdrawal by Turkey of its objections.

“This changes the entire balance of power in the Baltic Sea and Baltic Region,” Stoltenberg said according to news wire Ritzau.

With Sweden and Finland in the alliance along with Denmark and the Baltic countries, Nato countries will control all sea access to the Baltic Sea and thereby Russian ports in the region.

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