Foreign Relations of Denmark

Sovereignty of Denmark

The foreign policy of Denmark is very centralized; since Denmark is a sovereign nation, the Danish policy is to relate to Europe and the rest of the world as an independent entity. Though Denmark has much pride in its sovereignty, their foreign policy is not exclusionary. Denmark has a long history of good relationships with foreign powers.

The Danes have been involved in many peacekeeping operations. During the 1980s, they sent assistance to the Baltic States and Yugoslavia in order to aid the UN Protection Forces. Denmark’s official stance on foreign policy is to be active rather than adaptive. Therefore they will actively defend human rights and democracy throughout the world.


Neutrality and a Scuffle

After the end of World War II in 1949, Denmark relinquished a policy of neutrality that had been established for two hundred years. Denmark is one of the founding members of NATO and is still highly active within the organization. During the 1980s, Denmark and the United States got into a series of verbal bouts over security policies. The Danish Social Liberal Party was opposed to some NATO policies that dealt with nuclear weaponry. The arguments were quietly resolved and this time period has come to be known as the “footnote era.” Since the end of the Cold War, Denmark and the United States have had affluent relations.

European Union

The Danish people have been given the moniker, the “reluctant Europeans.” In 1992, Denmark refused to accept the Maastricht Treaty, which was the document written up by the European Community that established the European Union. By rejecting the proposal, Denmark put the entire plan of the European Union on pause.  Because of this, the European Community barred Denmark from many of the “rights” of the European Union; Denmark would have no common defense, no common currency, and no EU citizenship.

The issue of joining the European Union is an ongoing topic of debate in Denmark. The main point of discussion is that by joining the Union, Denmark would be sacrificing their sovereignty. Over the past decade, there has been treaties and referendums to repeal Denmark’s opt-outs, but there has not been enough parliamentary support for them to be passed.