The SVM government will spend a large amount of billions on the Defense over the next 10 years, but Acting Minister of Defense Troels Lund Poulsen would not reveal on Tuesday what capacities the money is expected to be spent on. At the same time, he called several questions about whether donations to Ukraine count towards NATO's two per cent target a "wanted discussion".FActing Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen (V) presented the SVM government's long-awaited plan for the upcoming defense settlement on Tuesday morning. The governing parties, the Social Democrats, the Liberals and the Moderates, propose to invest a total of DKK 143 billion. DKK in Danish defense and security over the next 10 years in addition to the DKK 22 billion DKK, which is already earmarked as support for Ukraine.
"We are at a historic turning point in defense and security policy. There is war in Europe and we can no longer take peace for granted. It is a historic boost, because we must stand stronger in the face of the serious, new threat picture that we are looking into now and in the future. That is why it is also an ambitious plan that the government is putting forward today,' said Troels Lund Poulsen about the economic salt water injection, which is phased in with increasing amounts over the next ten years.
Of the total of 143 billion DKK is 27 billion. already earmarked, respectively, the "accumulated expenses" on the material and personnel side and 11 billion for "investments to continue the Defense at the current level" in light of the new security policy reality after Russia's invasion of Ukraine - a total of 38 billion, which has so far been referred to as the Defense's backlog. The remaining 105 billion kroner in the plan are allocated to new defense and security policy priorities.
Very little concrete content in playWhat the money will more specifically go to, however, remains unclear after today's press conference. Initially, the conciliation circle must agree to enter into a so-called economic framework settlement, which is expected to be in place before the NATO summit in Vilnius in July. On Thursday this week, Troels Lund Poulsen will call the settlement circle to a so-called meeting, and then the negotiations on the framework settlement will begin.
Procurement and phasing in of concrete capacities and initiatives will then be adopted in ongoing sub-agreements from the autumn onwards, said the acting Minister of Defence, who was not much for diving into the details.
The government's plan instead moves in the higher air layers and proposes that Danish defense policy in the future must be based on three overall geographical focus areas; the Commonwealth, the immediate area in the East and efforts in the world's focal points, where the first two in particular weigh heavily in the overall picture. First and foremost, however, the Armed Forces must be strengthened on the internal lines, where there are major challenges both on the material and personnel side.
Read also: Here is the memo and the Ministry of Defence's own recommendations for a new defense settlement
At the same time, the Armed Forces must support civil authorities to a greater extent. This must be done, among other things, by adjusting the conscription system so that the Armed Forces can more easily release soldiers for operational tasks, according to the settlement plan. However, Troels Lund Poulsen did not want to elaborate further on this point either:
"I am not going to present a model in relation to how I see conscription to be set up, I will discuss that with the parties that will be part of the agreement. It depends on the number and length and how the conditions should be for the new ones who come in.'
Does aid to Ukraine count towards Nato goals?In addition to the 143 billion kroner that goes to the Armed Forces, Denmark will continue to prioritize Ukraine and be one of the country's leading supporters in the West, Troels Lund Poulsen stated during the press conference.
The expenses for support to Ukraine will be included in the Danish defense expenses, and thus, for the next two years, Denmark looks set to live up to NATO's goal that the member states must spend two per cent. of bnp on the Armed Forces. It is still the SVM government's goal that by 2030 at the latest Denmark meets NATO's goal of spending two per cent of GDP on defense and security permanently, it appears from the play.
"The government wants to set aside a total of an additional 21.9 billion DKK for military support to Ukraine under the auspices of the Ukraine Foundation, distributed over DKK 7.5 billion. DKK in the current year, DKK 10.4 billion. DKK in 2024 and 1 billion DKK annually in 2025-2028. The substantial increase in aid to Ukraine means that in 2023 and 2024, Denmark has set aside funds to meet NATO's goal of spending two per cent of GDP on defense and security.'
Berlingske's journalist wanted to know whether it is now also approved in NATO that these expenses are counted, but in the eyes of the defense minister it was "a sought-after discussion". He made it clear, however, that it is the government's clear view that the calculation methods used are within the scope of what Nato lets the countries count with.
Requires statement of artillery purchasesAt the end of Tuesday's press conference, Troels Lund Poulsen was asked about the procurement of artillery by the Israeli manufacturer Elbit. An offer which has apparently been rushed through without the Parliament's Finance Committee having been sufficiently briefed on the length of the offer. This has caused several parties to demand answers to what happened and who knew what. Troels Lund Poulsen has also been called into consultation in the case.
The responsibility for the case formally lies with Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, who was on sick leave, as the purchase was made before his sick leave. However, even before Ellemann is back and has the opportunity to answer for himself, the matter must be investigated.
"I have decided that when I meet with the defense conciliation circle later today, I will tell them that, based on the fact that I have also been called to consultation, I will ask for an explanation," said Troels Lund Poulsen, who did his best to distance himself from his predecessor's bullshit when persistent reporters pressed him for an answer:
"Now it is important to distinguish between me and Jakob Ellemann-Jensen. I am not Jakob Ellemann. I am Troels Lund Poulsen.'