Denmark plans to triple defence investment over next decade
Denmark’s government unveiled plans on Tuesday (30 May) to invest 143 billion Danish kroner (€19.2 billion) in defence over the next 10 years, in line with a pledge to meet NATO’s spending target.
“We must, to a greater extent, be able to live up to the demands and expectations that NATO and its allies have for Denmark,” Troels Lund Poulsen, the acting defence minister, told reporters.
“This requires large investments in our armed forces to lift our share of the responsibility,” he also said.
Like most NATO members, after the end of the Cold War Denmark scaled down its military capabilities to wage a conventional war in Europe.
But in response to the Ukraine war, Copenhagen pledged last year to permanently increase spending on defence and security to 2% of gross domestic product by the end of 2030, in line with NATO’s targets.
From next year, annual spending will be scaled to 19.2 billion Danish kroner (€2.6 billion) by 2033, from the current 6.9 billion Danish crowns (€926 million).
This means Danish defence spending will almost triple over the next 10 years.
The overall framework for the spending will be established in the government’s proposal to come, during which decisions on actual military procurements would be agreed upon continuously.
Denmark’s move follows that of other alliance members who have been pledging increased defence spending one after the other since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, everywhere across the European continent.
Denmark also joined the EU’s common defence policy in response to the threat posed by Russia after it launched a war against Ukraine in 2022.
Despite the commitment NATO members took in 2022, a majority of them still fall short of the alliance’s defence spending pledge. Only seven members meet the target, despite their continued investment in defence.
Close to 10 years later, NATO allies are considering turning the 2% GDP spending target into a firm commitment.
“In July, I expect allies to agree to a more ambitious defence investment pledge, as 2% of GDP is a minimum to be invested in our defence”, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in March when presenting the defence spending numbers for the year 2022.
The discussion among NATO members is however still ongoing and no agreement has been reached as to the future of the investment pledge.