Denmark agrees to host US troops and equipment in new defence deal

Ritzau/The Local
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Denmark agrees to host US troops and equipment in new defence deal
Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Denmark's defence minister Troels Lund Poulsen announce the new defence deal with the US. Photo: Thomas Traasdahl/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark has struck a historic new defence deal with the US that will allow US troops and equipment to be based permanently on Danish soil, the country's government announced on Tuesday.


Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called the ten-year agreement a "breakthrough in Danish defence" at a press conference on Tuesday morning. 

"We live in violent times, with many forces that challenging our democracy and the democratic rules of the game," she said. "We are not going to hide the fact that this agreement with the US marks a new breakthrough in Danish defence policy. It means that American soldiers and equipment can be permanently stationed on Danish soil". 

Denmark has declined to host military bases or nuclear warheads for the US or other Nato powers since 1953, a policy brought in to avoid aggravating the Soviet Union.  

The new deal ends this 70-year ban, giving the US access to three air bases at Karup, Skrydstrup and Aalborg in south, central and northern Jutland respectively.

The US would be permitted to station military personal for "both shorter and longer periods", Frederiksen said, allowing Denmark to "strengthen the US's access to Europe and to the Baltic Sea" and so "contribute to NATO's collective defense in Europe".

In addition to the air bases, the US will also be allowed to use the port of Esbjerg to ship in personnel, vehicles and weapons for troops in Denmark and in the rest of Europe.

The announcement came a day after Finland signed a defence cooperation agreement which will allow US troops to operate on its territory, including along its border with Russia. A similar deal was struck with Sweden earlier in December. Denmark launched negtotiations with the US on the deal last February. 


The Danish deal will be signed early next week but according to Frederiksen will only come into force when Denmark's parliament has passed new legislation in about a year's time.

Under the deal, US soldiers stationed in Denmark will be subject to US law, although in some circumstances they will still be able to prosecuted in Denmark. 

Frederiksen said that she believed that Denmark's security would be bolstered by a US military presence. "I would rather have an American presence in Denmark than the opposite," she said.



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Charlotta Bright Norby 2023/12/20 20:47
The opposite of US presence in Denmark? Isn’t that just no US presence in Denmark?
  • Richard Orange 2023/12/20 21:18
    Could she mean "than the other side" - IE, the Russians? Here's the quote in Danish: "Noget af det er selvfølgelig på nogle meget klare amerikanske ønsker, som vi ikke ønsker at anfægte. Jeg vil til enhver tid hellere have amerikansk tilstedeværelse i Danmark end det modsatte"

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