As the crises in Ukraine, Iraq and Syria continue to fester and the Danish economy continues its rise out of financial duress, the US has called for the Danish defence budget to be increased.
Denmark has argued that it always delivers in NATO, even though it only spends 1.37 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on its defence budget – less than the NATO-desired 2 percent. But that explanation is beginning to wear thin, according to US officials.
“It’s also important to look at the quality, and over time one can’t keep delivering more on less funds,” an unnamed US NATO official said according to Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
“In 2000, Denmark could deploy a whole division, but now it's tough to send a battalion. In five years it could be even less.”
Will they sign?
Ahead of the upcoming NATO summit in Wales in September, eleven nations have revealed they are prepared to sign an agreement that would bind them to spending 2 percent of their GDP on their defence within a ten-year period.
A number of Danish opposition parties, including Venstre, Konservative and Dansk Folkeparti, support an increased defence budget, but the government has yet to take an official stance.
“We share the ambition of a strong and loyal NATO with a better distribution of burden,” Nicolai Wammen, the defence minister, said.
Only the US, Britain, Greece and Estonia currently live up to the NATO goal of spending 2 percent of GDP on defence. The US spends 4 percent of its GDP on defence and pays 17 percent of NATO’s bills.