News in Digest: A bit of give and take at NATO – The Post

News in Digest: A bit of give and take at NATO

Denmark committed to playing a part, but will it please Trump?

Ever-vigilant in the Baltic (photo: US Defense Department)
June 17th, 2018 7:00 pm| by The Copenhagen Post

In the wake of the tariffs war escalating since the meeting of the G7 in Canada on June 8-9, US President Donald Trump has once again lambasted his country’s allies for failing to live up to his expectations and spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on defence.

According to figures released in March 2017, Denmark was expected to spend just 1.17 percent last year – while only five of Europe’s 27 NATO members reportedly paid over 2 percent.

New HQ a fulfilment
Nevertheless, Denmark has recently made a move that might please the White House. Together with the Netherlands and Belgium, it has taken on the task of building a new mobile operations HQ for NATO that can be deployed anywhere it is needed.

“The new HQ is completely in line with our recently agreed defence initiatives to strengthen the area of special operations,” explained the defence minister, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, following a meeting of his peers in Brussels last week.

NATO foots Bornholm bill
In related news, the Danish Air Force has confirmed that NATO has decided to invest in an upgrade of the military radar on Bornholm over the next couple of years.

With a range of 470 km, the radar monitors aviation activity in the Baltic Sea, where Russian military aircraft are often sighted.

Manned by Danish military personnel, the radar is one of three used for monitoring air traffic in Denmark – the other two being on Skagen and Skrydstrup.

Tariff disappointment
Meanwhile, Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen is unimpressed by Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on steel (25 percent) and aluminium (10) imported from the EU, Canada and Mexico, and he has backed the EU’s plans to place their own tariffs on US imports.

“The US and the EU agree that Chinese overcapacity is a problem, but erecting toll barriers for EU trade doesn’t solve anything,” he said.

“The US steel and aluminium imports stem from allies and close co-operation partners, so it doesn’t ring true when the US reasons the tariffs are for national security.”