Copenhagen, Washington Discuss US Presence on Danish Soil
After reaching a similar agreement with fellow Nordic nation Norway, which might offer a glimpse of what is to come, the US gained the right to unimpeded access to four "agreed" military areas in the country, which many interpreted as a violation of Norwegian law that prohibits the permanent presence of "foreign forces" in peacetime.
Denmark and the US are negotiating a new defense cooperation agreement against the backdrop of the Ukrainian conflict, Danish Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen confirmed after meeting with his US counterpart Antony Blinken.
"The agreement should create the possibility of a permanent American presence, but this will not be on a massive scale," he told Danish media.
In a separate press release, the US State Department stressed that the US has a "long, close, and mutually beneficial relationship with Denmark" and that "ways to further our partnership and engagement" have been discussed.
The defense agreement was proposed by Denmark last year in February. The US welcomed the proposal by stating that it would "deepen our close security partnership, further strengthen cooperation in NATO operations, and together, contribute to continued growth in transatlantic security."
No details of the negotiations have been shared so far.
However, in 2022, after approval by the Norwegian parliament, an additional agreement on defense cooperation with the US came into force with Norway, which may serve as a prelude for what is to come in Denmark.
In that agreement, the US gained the right to unimpeded access to and use of four "agreed" military areas in Norway, including Evenes Air Station and Ramsund Naval Base. In addition to exclusive access and the right to use these bases, the agreement granted the US extensive authority over Norwegian citizens who may come into contact with these areas.
16 November 2022, 05:48 GMT
At Evenes Air Station, which is the Norwegian Air Force's advanced base for the F-35 fighter jets and NATO's fighter jet preparedness, the aim is to boost cooperation between Norwegian, UK, and US P-8 maritime surveillance aircraft. Numerous Norwegian and UK officials admitted that the goal is to keep an eye on Russian submarine activity in the Arctic.
The deal sparked both popular and political opposition, as the Reds, the Greens and the Socialist Left all voted against it. Opponents of the arrangement claimed that the agreement utterly defied Norway's basic policy that categorically excludes any permanent presence of "foreign powers" on its territory in peacetime. Norwegian and US officials countered such fears by claiming that the arrangement is only temporary.
Denmark has been a close NATO and US ally in recent decades and a regular contributor to their overseas operations. Overall, Danish forces have been deployed worldwide to nine NATO missions and UN operations, as well as US-led coalitions in Iraq. Denmark also plays a key role in US military plans because Greenland - the world's largest island - hosts the world's northernmost military base at Thule.