With Copenhagen’s new defence plan, Denmark, Greenland, and Faroe Islands have forged a consensus on Arctic relations, they announced on Thursday.
“The goal is for the Arctic and the North Atlantic to continue to be an area of low tension, where potential conflicts are resolved peacefully,” the statement said.
“With this goal in mind, Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland must cooperate to improve surveillance and sovereignty enforcement in the region, as well as contribute to looking after the interests of the allies and NATO in the region.”
All the three countries stressed that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had transformed the security picture in the North and required a unified response.
Copenhagen stressed the importance of the Danish Armed Forces’s role in ensuring the security of the Kingdom of Denmark in concert with the authorities in all three countries.
Evolving security picture in Arctic and North Atlantic
Representatives from the Danish government, the Faroe Islands’ national government and Greenland’s Naalakkersuisut will begin meeting regularly this fall to discuss surveillance and sovereignty enforcement in the region with regular ministerial meetings to be held during the upcoming defence settlement.
Faroese and Greenlandic participation in international defence policy forums and military exercises will also be discussed.
“I am pleased that there is agreement between the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Denmark on the basis for relations regarding The Arctic and the North Atlantic in the defense agreement,” acting Minister of Defense, Troels Lund Poulsen, said.
“We see a changed threat picture in Europe, which also has an influence on the development of defense and security policy in the Arctic and the North Atlantic. It has emphasized the importance of the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Denmark standing together – for the benefit of our common security.”
Stress on dual-use infrastructure in Faroe Islands and Greenland
Greenland said that any defence investments must prioritize benefitting society, ranging from using local companies, industries and research institutions to focusing on infrastructure that can double for military and civilian use.
“We must strengthen civil preparedness in our society, make use of dual-use installations and create greater robustness for our communications,” Vivian Motzfeldt, Greenland’s Foreign Affairs minister, said.
“We must do this in a deliberate way, so that we do not contribute to the risk of drawing conflicts from other parts of the world home to the Arctic.”
The Faroe Islands also called for a focus on infrastructure investments benefiting the local population and data and information sharing concerning cyber defense and hybrid threats.
“With the goal of continued peace and stability in mind, Faroese authorities must participate actively in cooperation on defense and security policy and be involved in all processes, plans and decisions that may be relevant to the Faroe Islands,” the archipelago’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Høgni Hoydal said.
Parliamentary majority approves defence investments; meeting NATO spending objectives
On Wednesday, a parliamentary majority in Denmark approved Copenhagen’s defence plan which includes investing 143 billion DKK ($28 billion CDN) in the Armed Forces. A statement from the Ministry of Defence said it means Denmark will be contributing the NATO objective of spending two per cent of GDP on defense and security by 2030 at the latest.
Denmark released a new foreign and security policy strategy in May that places strong emphasis on Danish and European security, particularly in the Arctic.
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