What will Denmark’s extra defence billions be spent on?

Denmark’s government on Sunday announced that billions more kroner will be spent on its military in the coming years.

A 2018 file photo of a helicopter on the deck of a Danish frigate.
A 2018 file photo of a helicopter on the deck of a Danish frigate. The Nordic country is set to up defence spending in the coming years. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

At a press briefing, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, with the backing of a cross-aisle majority of political parties, presented a new political agreement on defence spending.

The deal states that Denmark is to increase spending and must reach the NATO membership target of two percent of national GDP to be spent on defence.

Calling it the “largest investment in recent decades”, Frederiksen set out plans to increase spending to two percent of GDP, in line with NATO membership requirements, by 2033.

Meanwhile, 2022 and 2023 will see an additional 7 billion kroner spent on defence in reaction to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

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An analyst said on Monday that the extra billions to be pumped into Denmark’s military defences in coming years are likely to be spent on a range of areas.

“There are many areas that should probably be improved to make Denmark’s defence more prepared for the current or the future security situation,” Esben Salling Larsen, military analyst at the Royal Danish Defence College (Forsvarsakademiet) told news wire Ritzau.

“It is not only personnel, material or resources that should be invested in. A larger overall package is needed,” Larsen said.

The current global security situation will change the way in way defence is viewed in Denmark, he said.

Since 2003, various elements of military capacity were looked viewed individually, he explained.

“We are (now) going to have a more task-based approach,” he said.

“NATO has some plans and wants to develop new plans for what should be done in the Baltic Sea region, and the Danish military must fit with that,” he said.

The Chief of Defence (Forsvarschefen) will have a different role than in the last 20 years, the analyst also said.

The role of the Chief of Defence will move from use of individual military capacities to advising how Denmark’s and NATO’s plans fit together, he said.

By 2033, the Danish military will be in a better position overall, according to Larsen.

“I think we will see a defence in which units to a high degree are focused and specialised on a specific task,” he said.

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Defence minister would welcome Nato troops in Danish port city

Denmark’s Minister of Defence Morten Bødskov said on Friday he wants to increase the viability of west coast port Esbjerg for use by military alliance Nato, including troops from the United States.

Defence minister would welcome Nato troops in Danish port city

Bødskov visited West Jutland city Esbjerg on Friday as part of considerations over a potential extension of the city’s port, the Ministry of Justice said.

The port city, which also played host to this week’s green energy meetings, has been flagged as the site of a new mustering point for Nato and especially United States military forces, according to a press release from the Ministry of Defence. 

“Russia’s terrible attack on Ukraine makes it very clear that Denmark must live up to expectations that we can act as a host country for allies who want to go through Denmark,” Bødskov said in the statement.

The ministry said that the United States in particular has shown interest in making more use of Esbjerg harbour.

Such use would be part of operations in which the city’s port would be used to transport military personnel and hardware to the Baltic Sea region including the Baltic countries.

Esbjerg Harbour has been used by the American military on a number of previous occasions in relation to exercises, while hardware and personnel have previously travelled through the city.

“Esbjerg Harbour has an attractive location in relation to supporting our Nato allies – particularly the United States – with the deployment of things like hardware in the Baltic Sea region,” he said.

“It’s a good opportunity for Denmark to provide support to countries that send reinforcements to maintain security for all of us,” he said.

The exact plans for the harbour – and their cost – are currently unconfirmed.

Preliminary work at the location will include environmental approvals, which must first be prepared. The Defence Ministry did not give clear detail as to what this process entails.

An extension of the harbour is expected to be complete by the end of 2023, however.

READ ALSO: Denmark begins largest military deployment in 23 years