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Government could shake up military enlistment with more female recruits and forced conscription

Ben Hamilton
January 26th, 2023


This article is more than 1 year old.

Jakob Ellemann-Jensen concedes changes might be necessary to enable Denmark to properly defend itself

Huge sum on the table (photo: Forsvaret)

Women should be available for conscription to the Danish Armed Forces, contended the defence minister, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, to TV2 last night.

In a frank interview, he conceded that Denmark cannot properly defend itself as things stand, so the referendum to abolish the country’s EU defence reservation in June 2022 to increase military spending could not have been better timed.

He was unequivocal in his opinion that Denmark, like its neighbours and allies, faces a common enemy who must be stopped.

“If Putin wins this war, he will continue,” he said. “He must lose.”

Changing the conscription conditions
Nothing is set in stone, but Ellemann-Jensen clearly wants the rules regarding conscription loosened up. 

Denmark can no longer afford to only accept volunteers – and everyone, including women, should be eligible, he said.

While the law permits the Armed Forces to forcefully enlist soldiers, fewer than 1 percent are conscripted in this way. The youngsters’ national service tends to last between four and 12 months.

“The armed forces would benefit from more women coming,” he said.

Tanks staying in Denmark, says minister
In order of priority, according to Ellemann-Jensen, the Armed Forces must be able to defend Denmark, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Baltic Sea region, and Danish interests outside the world – fighting piracy and supporting its allies, for example.

This commitment to defending its borders, he continued, partly explained why Denmark has chosen not to donate any of its 44 tanks – of which 14 are currently deployed to the Baltic countries – to Ukraine, although it has pledged 19 French-produced Caesar howitzers.

“We contribute with other things. The tanks are not just something we have for decoration. They are used as a deterrent because we have Baltic allies with a very, very large neighbour who has been shown to attack its neighbours,” he concluded.

“We must ensure there is a balance. We must be able to train soldiers in Denmark, and that requires that we have equipment to train them with.”


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