Denmark proposes defence spend boost, reaffirms importance of low-conflict Arctic

Denmark’s Defence Minister Troels Lund Poulsen presents the government’s plans for a new defence settlement at a press conference at the Ministry of Defence in Copenhagen, on May 30, 2023. (Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix /AFP via Getty Images)

Denmark is proposing a 143 billion kroner ($28 billion CDN) spend on defence over the next 10 years, saying it must be nimble in reacting to the world’s changing security picture.

The announcement on Monday also reiterated the importance of keeping international tensions elsewhere in the world from spilling over in the North.

“With a stronger Danish defence, the government will in future direct a strengthened effort towards three areas,” acting Minister of Defence, Troels Lund Poulsen, said in a statement.

This applies to the Commonwealth, where we have a special obligation. It remains the goal that the Arctic and the North Atlantic is a low-voltage area. We must of course protect Denmark and live up to our obligation to lift the joint responsibility for security in the Baltic and the Baltic Sea.”

In addition, Denmark said it planned to meet the NATO goal of spending two per cent of its GDP by 2030 at the latest.

“We must stand up stronger in the face of the serious, new threat picture that we are looking into now and in the future,” Poulsen said. 

“To a greater extent, we must be able to live up to the demands and expectations that NATO and its allies have for Denmark. It requires large investments in the Armed Forces to lift our share of the responsibility in NATO.”

Support for Ukraine

Denmark is also allocating 32.6 billion kroner ($6.3 billion CDN) to supporting Ukraine up to 2028, saying Russia’s invasion of the country was a wake up call for Europe.

A March 2023 file photo of Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen (R) and Denmark’s Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen at the launch of the Ukraine Fund, established to support Ukraine. ( Emil Nicolai Helms / Ritzau Scanpix /AFP via Getty Images)

“The threat picture can change quickly,” Poulsen said. 

“We see this not least with the war in Ukraine. Therefore, we will create a new approach to defense settlements, which gives us the opportunity to make pit-stops along the way and continuously make decisions that can take into account developments in the security policy situation and technological development. At the same time, the 10-year planning horizon ensures us long-term planning with a stable strategic and financial framework.”

Changing threat picture

Poulsen said a significant investment in security reflected the changing nature of security threats in the country, that are no longer just military but involve things like online threats. 

“The robustness of society must be increased, and the Armed Forces must contribute so that it is better able to deal with new threats to society, such as cyber attacks and attacks on critical infrastructure,” he said. 

“The large investments must also benefit society as a whole by contributing to e.g. Danish industry, research and Danish workplaces.” 

Negotiations on the proposed defense budget will begin in the government next week.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Norway committed to keeping Arctic Council as leading forum on North says ambassador, CBC News 

Denmark: Danish policy prioritizes low-conflict Arctic amidst Russian tensions, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Trial fence on Finland-Russia border nears completion, Lapland phase next, Yle News

Greenland: Growing focus on Arctic puts Greenland at higher risk of cyber attacks: assessment, Eye on the Arctic

IcelandNATO anti-submarine warfare exercise underway in North Atlantic, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: And in Between, There Are Doors’—Europe, the Arctic, and shared spaces, Blog by Marc Lanteigne

Russia: Moscow expels five Swedish diplomats, orders closure of Consulate General, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Blinken to visit Luleå amid Arctic fighter jet exercise, The Independent Barents Observer

United StatesU.S. nominates Alaskan as first Arctic ambassador, Eye on the Arctic

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