A Danish F-16 fighter jet decorated with the Danish flag ‘Dannebrog’ in honour of the flag’s recent 800-year celebration was deployed to rebuff a Russian spy plane near Danish airspace this week.
The F-16 was dispatched as part of a routine assignment to prevent a Russian aircraft, an IL-20M, from entering Danish airspace.
The Danish Air Force subsequently released some stunning images from the undramatic encounter – something they don’t do very often.
“The deployment was a routine task for the airspace protection response unit, but it is rare that we get pictures that are so beautiful. So we won’t deny you those,” the Air Force wrote on Facebook (see images here).
Staying near home
The Danish F-16 adorned with the flag will not be deployed abroad for defence purposes anymore, but will remain part of the airspace protection response unit until it retires. It will, however, take part in a show abroad next year marking the 40th anniversary of the F-16.
The Russian aircraft never did enter Danish airspace, but the Air Force has increasingly been forced to deploy its F-16 fighter jets in response to Russian aircraft approaching Danish airspace in recent years.
Danish F-16s responded 38 times to approaching Russian aircraft last year, which is comparable to the 37 times it did so in 2017.
Danish plan to improve EU conflict support
Denmark is ready with a strategy (here in English) that aims to improve Danish and EU assistance to vulnerable countries that have endured conflict. The plan involves helping countries rebuild and train police and security forces, preventing cross-border crime and curbing migration. In the EU, Denmark has deployed the second-most people per capita to EU-run crisis operations. Currently, the EU operates 10 missions in countries that have been, or are currently, in strife. They include Ukraine, Georgia, Iraq, Somalia, Kosovo, Palestine and several areas in north Africa.
A change in Danish development policy
Denmark has made significant changes to its development strategy for the coming year so that it focuses more on the climate and helping more people in need. The alteration means that Denmark will now assume a global leadership role for the green transition, help more people in their local communities, contribute to giving Africa’s young people more opportunity in their own countries and fight to strengthen Denmark’s efforts in regards to gender equality and the rights of women and girls. Read more about the government’s development plans here (in Danish).
Irish coffee for Mette …
PM Mette Frederiksen is due to meet her Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar for a working lunch in Copenhagen on October 4. Frederiksen said that Brexit would be on the agenda, particularly given that the UK is set to leave the EU in less than a month. Other topics to be broached include the climate and how the EU can lead the way in terms of tackling the grave issue.
… and an Italian cappuccino
Then next week on October 8, Frederiksen is scheduled to meet with Italy’s president Sergio Mattarella in Copenhagen. The pair are due to discuss Danish-Italian co-operation, as well as European migration challenges and climate issues. In connection with the meeting, Frederiksen said that “Denmark leads a stringent immigration policy and shows international leadership in regards to the climate agenda. We can do a lot here at home, but even more can be achieved through co-operation.”
New permanent EU rep for Denmark
As of October 4, Jonas Bering Liisberg will become Denmark’s new permanent representative in the EU. Liisberg, who was previously part of the Foreign Ministry’s leadership, will replace Kim Jørgensen, who has been appointed the head of cabinet for EU commissioner Margrethe Vestager. Jørgensen still requires the EU Commission to approve his appointment.