Denmark boosts military spending, announces more aid for Ukraine

After years of scaling back, the Nordic nation plans to spend $21bn on defence over the next 10 years.

Denmark's Leopard 2A7 tanks move during the Winter Camp 23 military drills near Tapa, Estonia
Denmark's Leopard 2A7 tanks move during the Winter Camp 23 military drills near Tapa, Estonia [File: Pavel Golovkin/AP]

Denmark’s government plans to invest 143 billion Danish crowns ($21bn) in defence over the next 10 years, with an aim to meet its military and security goals as a founding NATO member.

The Nordic nation currently spends around 27 billion Danish crowns per year ($3.89bn) on defence, and the government had said it will progressively increase this by up to 19.2 billion Danish crowns ($2.8bn) by 2033, beginning with an increase of 6.9 billion Danish crowns ($995m) next year.

“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, acting defence minister, told reporters.

“This requires large investments in our armed forces to lift our share of the responsibility,” he added.

On Monday, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen – who has emerged as a contender to become NATO’s next chief – also announced that the country would be allocating an additional 21.9 billion Danish crowns ($3.16bn) in military aid to Ukraine — a move that was welcomed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

After the Cold War, Denmark scaled back spending on its defence capabilities.

But since Russia invaded Ukraine, Copenhagen has acknowledged shortcomings in its ability to defend its territories and last year pledged to permanently boost its defence spending to 2 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) – an integral NATO goal.

In February, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also called on member states to invest more in defence as Russia’s war in Ukraine continues.

“It is obvious that we need to spend more,” Stoltenberg said after a meeting with NATO defence ministers in Brussels in February.

However, the Danish government highlighted that the latest defence budget announcements will only help the country reach NATO’s target in 2030.

Source: News Agencies