Annex B: Denmark

Annex to Report: Vision on Defence-Related Skills for Europe Today and Tomorrow

Published in: European Commission (2019)

by Julia Muravska, Jacopo Bellasio, Alice Lynch, Anna Knack, Katerina Galai, Marta Kepe, Antonia Ward, Arya Sofia Meranto, Davide Maistro, Martin Hansen

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Denmark has historically had a long tradition of neutrality, which has influenced Denmark's political stance in NATO and the European security landscape. Exercising an opt-out from EU defence cooperation mechanisms (including EDA membership) has meant that Denmark has refrained from participating in CSDP operations and cooperation on the development, acquisition and pooling and sharing of European military capabilities. Denmark's security policy has, however, gradually changed since the end of the Cold War towards a more 'activist security policy' involving military engagements in conflicts abroad. As a result, Danish security policy and defence strategy are undergoing significant changes, with the government increasing investments in defence capabilities. In 2018, the Danish defence budget has been marked at just over €3 billion, measuring 1.21 per cent of GDP and placing Denmark under the NATO 2 per cent guideline. However, for the period 2018–2023, the new defence inter-party budgetary agreement is set to increase the Danish defence budget by about 20 per cent by the end of that period from today's benchmark.

Denmark is currently the only EU MS with an opt-out from European cooperation within defence. Although Denmark does not channel activity through the CSDP and EDA, the country contributes to European defence through other frameworks. Denmark is drawing closer towards European defence cooperation, having signed up to the European Intervention Initiative (EII) on 25 June 2018. In addition, Denmark participates in ad hoc and multilateral European defence initiatives, such as the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) with the UK; NORDEFCO with Nordic partners; and the Northern Group with the UK and Scandinavian and Baltic nations.

Denmark acquires much of its defence equipment from European and North American suppliers, while at the same time seeking to promote and preserve sovereign industrial competences in areas of strategic importance to the protection of Danish security interests. In order to sustain the country's indigenous skills base, national policies aim to ensure that foreign suppliers cooperate with local defence companies in Denmark to transfer (at least elements of) their knowledge, skills, and technologies. The overall aim of the industrial defence strategy is to work for a competitive and innovative international market for defence equipment, while at the same time ensuring the development of Danish industrial competences and skills in defence.

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