Danish frigate in Norwegian waters. Photo: Catharina Molland Dale/Forsvaret

Denmark promises increased focus on Arctic as it takes over NORDEFCO chair

Increased focus on the Arctic and North Atlantic will be amongst Copenhagen’s priorities when it takes over chairmanship of the Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO) from Sweden on January 1, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
December 29, 2023


By Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic


“The Baltic Sea region, Arctic and the North Atlantic will be geographical areas of particular importance in 2024,” a ministry spokesperson told Eye on the Arctic in emailed comment on Friday.

“The Danish Defence Intelligence Service has recently stated that the security climate in the Arctic Region is expected to become more unstable due to increased military activity, and it is possible that Russia and China will increase their cooperation in the region. Given the Kingdom of Denmark’s position, it is only natural for us to focus on the developments in the Arctic and North Atlantic region.”

Copenhagen stressed its commitment to a  low-conflict North, but pointed to NATO’s 2022 Strategic Concept that flagged the challenges Moscow could present for western countries, including its capability to “disrupt Allied reinforcements and freedom of navigation across the North Atlantic,” as an example of the importance of increasing attention on the North.

“Our ambition is to maintain the region as a region of low tension as we face new and special challenges in the North Atlantic and the Arctic region,” the ministry spokesperson said.

“This is important for strategic lines of communication and supply, as well as for capabilities and operational cooperation. We are consequently looking into enhancing our surveillance capabilities in the region. Closer Nordic cooperation and coordination within the overall NATO-framework will be of importance.”


Work on joint operations, armaments ongoing

NORDEFCO is an alliance between Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden to cooperate on national defence issues and develop the ability to better operate together. With Finland’s accession to NATO and  Sweden’s future membership, Copenhagen says NORDEFCO’s work has more importance than ever. 

“Building on the work taken on by Sweden in 2023, the main task for NORDEFCO in 2024 is to build on and implement recent decisions, while maintaining a close cooperation internally and with partners on security challenges, in particular the continued support to Ukraine and the implications of NATO membership,” the ministry said. 

“Among other priorities, the Danish chair will also maintain momentum in the ongoing work to increase our ability to conduct and command combined joint operations and further engage in closer cooperation in the armaments area.”


This story is posted on the Barents Observer as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.





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