The military has recommended that five barracks be closed in order to help find 2.7 billion kroner of savings in its annual budget.
The barracks slated for closure are the Bülows barracks in Fredericia, Almegård on Bornholm, and barracks in Sønderborg, Haderslev and either Høvelte or Vordingborg.
The military’s chief of command, General Peter Bartram, announced the news on the military’s website.
“I have handed in my recommendations to the Ministry of Defence, which will be included in the further political process,” Bartram wrote. “My recommendations only take military conditions into consideration. My co-workers and I therefore expect that other aspects will be included in the final political decision, which may deviate from my recommendation.”
The final political decision is likely to be affected by the social and economic impact on towns near the barracks.
Haderslev’s mayor, Christian Gjesing (Socialdemokraterne), told Jyllands-Posten newspaper that southern Jutland, where two barracks have been recommended for closure, will be hit hardest by the proposed closures. He added that the region would lose an important historical connection to the army if the barracks were to close.
“I have a hard time imagining a Danish army that is not represented in southern Jutland,” Gjesing said. “My neighbours and my wife's colleagues have all sent their sons to fight in Afghanistan. If the barracks are closed, an important connection between the military and civil society in the entire region will be severed.”
Gjesing also feared the economic consequences for the region if the Haderslev barracks closed.
“We will lose between 350 and 400 jobs,” Gjesing said. “We already lost around 800 jobs when our hospital was closed. The legal offices and the police commissioner’s offices have also been moved. We’ve been walked all over.”
Bornholm’s mayor, Winni Grosbøll (Socialdemokraterne), was not surprised that the Almegård barracks were recommended for closure but nonetheless said it would have a tremendous impact on the isolated island.
“A barracks in the middle of the Baltic that employs 450 people plays a vital role for our island community,” Grosbøll told Jyllands-Posten. “The military’s calculations might show that this is an area where it can make a savings. But the calculation changes if some of the socioeconomic consequences are also taken into account. Soldiers, cleaners and cooks are all dependent on the barracks.”
In November, all political parties with the exception of Enhedslisten approved a new defence bill calling for 2.7 billion kroner to be cut from the military’s annual budget by 2017.