Denmark will answer the call!

Denmark will reply the phone!
Even though Denmark has continually kept its place as an outsider inside the European Union, the country's latest stand on defence shows a new trend which may possibly lead the Danes in the ESDP sooner than anticipated

A solid military tradition tested by the « 1864 syndrome »

Denmark owns a prolonged-earned status as a nation of fierce warriors. As early as in the Middle Ages, Europe was drastically impacted by the raids performed by Scandinavian Vikings under Danish leadership. During the centuries, the Danish people have therefore produced a powerful sense of military self-reliance.

Even so, a series of setbacks influenced the national ethos. Starting in the 17th century with the loss of the Eastern provinces to Sweden, and ending in 1864 with a bloody defeat towards Prussia and Austria, this era of military downfall left Denmark an isolated nation dealing with the newly established German Empire. As a consequence of what has been named by historians the « 1864 syndrome », Denmark subsequently opted for an armed neutrality, which prevailed in the course of Globe War 1. Following the war, defence sceptics succeeded in disarming the nation, which would have been no match against Hitler's armies anyway.

A military rebirth within NATO

With the end of World War two came a totally diverse era. Denmark and the other Nordic nations experimented with to shape a typical defence union that was soon shadowed by NATO as Denmark joined the new Alliance as a founding member. For the very first time in centuries, the Danes agree to fall below the protection of the most strong ally of Western bloc: the United States. Nevertheless, via the prism of the « 1864 syndrome », they stored seeing themselves as a nation at danger and they favoured a defensive approach all all through the Cold War.

Nevertheless, Denmark developed step by step 1 of the best military in Europe. Also, following the entrance of Germany in the Alliance, Denmark joined forces with its former enemy to type a unique army corps developed to defend the Baltic borders. Today's scholars like Klaus Karsten Pedersen take into account this military formation to be the 1st « Eurocorps » ever.

Shaping a European destiny alongside the EU

Denmark may possibly be an authentic member of NATO, it has definitely not restrained the Danes from expressing their variation. In the 80s, a political coalition agreed on a distinct foreign and security policy which lead to a far more conciliatory position in direction of the Eastern bloc. This different –softer- continental strategy clashed with the American vision, and the Danish place was materialized by footnotes added to NATO policy papers. This so-named « footnote » period may be studied from numerous distinct angles, but at least it showed that Denmark could act independently from the Americans to defend its very own European agenda.

In the many years following the collapse of the Berlin wall, the certain defence strategy adopted by Denmark became even much more apparent. Although Denmark has typically been linked with Wonderful Britain because of its restrictive method to the Maastricht treaty in 1992, the Danish opt-out from European defence routines has proven to be far more complex than the British place. In reality, it can be argued that the Danish opt-outs from a amount of European Union policies assisted conserve the Treaty of Maastricht. Furthermore, not only did it not prevent Denmark from taking its fair share of the common defence, but it also permitted the Danes to take lead on several events.


The robust Baltic policy initiated by Denmark as early as in 1990 is a clear instance of it. bonus dan promo sebagai bentuk profit judi online poker terbaik When the Danish government invited Baltic representatives to organize meetings in Copenhagen prior to the formal independence of their states, it was somehow an implementation of the European will that the EU itself did not afford. Denmark, with Germany, also took the initiative of launching the Council of Baltic Sea States with the three newly independent states.

Apart from, Denmark signed bilateral defence agreements with Poland, with the Baltic States and even with Russia in the 90s. The advancement of military cooperation with Poland and the Baltic states led to enhanced cooperation in the discipline on peacekeeping missions. It was also instrumental in bringing Poland in the Danish-German corps, turning it into a Polish-Danish-German corps now stationed in Poland.

Additionally, Denmark lead a proactive Balkan policy, currently being among the initial European nations to recognize the independence of the former republics of Yugoslavia.

Deeds, not phrases

Considering that the 90s, Denmark has unhesitatingly sent troops every time its dedication necessary it under the UN or NATO. Danish soldiers have been amongst the extremely 1st to deploy in Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Each time, they sent more troops proportionally than any other contributing nation. Danish contingents had been also sent to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and to Kosovo. In 2000, Denmark took the initiative to set up the Multinational Stand-by High Readiness Brigade for United Nations Operations (SHIRBRIG), which has given that deployed from Ethiopia and Eritrea to Ivory Coast. Last but not least, Danish forces have witnessed substantial support in Afghanistan and Iraq.

All these examples have a tendency to show that considering that the 90s, as Bertel Heurlin place it, Denmark has turn out to be a producer of security rather than just a customer (2). That is why today Denmark is a major European defence actor, capable and willing to use soft energy as properly as hard power, even if Marie Krarup, defence spokesperson for the Danish People’s Party, is not so optimistic. In particular, on the way back from an official journey in New-Zealand, Marie Krarup explained (3) that “There are several similarities among New Zealand and Denmark. The dimension of the population the need to save on defence so that it does not make up also massive a proportion of GDP as nicely as massive tasks in the way of monitoring of arctic areas”. Danish Defence capabilities and missions stay a scorching spot of the Danish political debates. As Nicolai Wammen, the existing ministry of Defence, put it, “even although Denmark is a rather modest nation in size, we think we can contribute to main alter.” (four) In that point of view, reinforcing Danish military capacities on land has become an proof as current operations demonstrated the need for strong mobile ground forces. This is why Denmark may possibly turn in the direction of European nations known for their defence industry, like France or the United kingdom, to acquire a new generation of military gear. Thus, Danish organization Hydrema just lately signed a partnership with Nexter, the French leader in land-based mostly weapons techniques. The two companies will exclusively operate collectively on programmes such as the integration of methods of APCs (armoured personal carriers), in order to support the Royal Danish Army’s M113 APC replacement programme. Nowadays, contemplating the age of military equipment from the Cold War era, Denmark intends to deepen European partnership to boost key military capabilities.

Rethinking the role of Denmark with the ESDP

The position of Denmark as a strategic player in Europe has revived the debate over the ESDP. In August 2013, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, former prime minister and leader of the opposition, proposed that a referendum on the opt-outs of EU, including defence, coincide with the 2014 European election. At the time, his proposal was not accepted by the government. Nonetheless, the two greatest parties in parliament, the Social Democrats and Liberals, have not too long ago agreed that this kind of a referendum would be held in early 2016. It is now understood by a bulk of Danes that complete participation in the ESDP would allow Denmark to support form the growth of the EU in a distinctive way.

Obviously, the « 1864 syndrome » belongs to the past...



(one) Pedersen, Klaus Carsten, Denmark and the European Security and Defence Policy, p. 41



(2) Heurlin, B., Riget, magten og militæret: dansk forsvars- og sikkerhedspolitik below Forvars-kommissionerne af 1988 og 1997 [The kingdom, the energy and the military: Danish defence and protection policy and the defence commissions of 1988 and 1997] (Aarhus Universitetsforlag: Århus, 2004)

(3)

(4)

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