Policy paper - After the June Referendum


In June 2022, 66.87% of Danish citizens voted in favour of abolishing the opt-out on the EU defence policy – a landmark decision for Denmark, fifty years after it confirmed its accession to the EU membership (1972) and thirty years after the Edinburgh Decision (1992).

EU Defence

Summary of the paper

In June 2022, 66.87% of Danish citizens voted in favour of abolishing the opt-out on the EU defence policy, thus opening the way for a stronger engagement of Danish stakeholders in European forums. Yet, if the “opt-in” comes with new opportunities for the Danish Armed forces, business community and society overall, deriving national benefits will first require overcoming a significant challenge: turning thirty years of reduced implication in EU defence policy into a new strategic, organised, and pro-active approach. As a result, the policy and organisational choices that will be made today and tomorrow will determine the gains Denmark can expect in the coming years from opting-in, and how this will support the country’s resilience and readiness towards current threats.

This position paper intends to contribute to the discussion focusing on three main considerations:

  • With the EU becoming more and more serious in defence, now is the time for Denmark to engage full-scale in EU defence policy
  • A stronger Danish engagement in EU defence will be valuable both for the Danish Armed forces, the business and research communities, and the society overall
  • Deriving national benefits from opting-in requires a more active stance and cost-efficient
    approach towards EU defence policy

The fourth part of the paper presents five main recommendations with suggestion of
actions at destination of Danish authorities and stakeholders to adopt not only the
best, but also the most cost-efficient approach to fully onboard the EU defence policy:

  1. Strengthening and better organising Danish presence and influence within EU institutions and frameworks of cooperation
  2. Improving the organisation and resources allocated to the management of the European Defence Fund according to the 4 lessons learnt so far
  3. Putting forward Denmark’s application to join the European Defence Agency (EDA)
  4. Putting forward Denmark’s application to join the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO)
  5. Revising the 2021 National Defence Industry Strategy

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