HELSINKI -- Denmark says it will begin negotiations on a new defense cooperation agreement with the U.S. that may include allowing American troops and military equipment to be stationed on Danish soil — in reversal of a decades-old policy.
But Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen stressed to reporters Thursday that the move is not due to current tensions between Russia and Ukraine. She said talks on intensifying military cooperation between Copenhagen and Washington have been in the works for a long time.
The potential new Danish-American defense cooperation deal “is a breakthrough after many decades" of a policy against allowing foreign troops to be stationed on Danish soil, she told Danish media.
“An increased American commitment here in Denmark will improve the access of the United States to the European continent,” Frederiksen said, as quoted by Danish public broadcaster DR.
Danish Defense Minister Morten Boedskov told reporters that no American military bases would be established in Denmark, and he declined to comment on where U.S. troops would be placed in the country.
Danish broadcaster TV2 said the Danish government is seeking to strike a similar kind of defense deal with Washington as neighboring Norway did in May 2021. Both Scandinavian countries are staunch NATO allies of the U.S.
With its treaty with Washington, Norway has allowed unhindered access to U.S. troops that can move freely in and out of the country. However, they must respect Norwegian law, meaning — among other things — that the U.S. cannot send nuclear weapons, landmines or cluster bombs with its soldiers to Norwegian soil.