chapter  13
15 Pages

Danish trade unions and their political role

ByHENNING SØRENSEN

Denmark’s foreign policy and defence policy is the background within which Danish military unions have to function. So, these two aspects will be briefly analysed in order to reveal the rather unique Danish profile compared to most other Western nations. Danish foreign policy has shifted more drastically than the changes at the end of the Cold War period implied. Indeed, though Denmark is a small nation she has moved in a more militaristic direction since the end of the Cold War and in particular since 9/11. As a result Denmark today can be seen as a strategic offensive actor in foreign policy combining diplomatic efforts with military deployment abroad. Danish defence policy has recently been adapted to this new foreign policy. Consequently, in 2004 Denmark decided – in contrast to most other Western countries – to increase both the personnel strength of its armed forces and its operational capability by doubling the number of soldiers for deployment in missions abroad from some 1,000 to around 2,000 by 2009. Thus, more than one-tenth of the total Danish military strength of 18,500 contracted soldiers is earmarked for international missions. This chapter will focus on the three Danish military unions and their role in these changes. It will show that they are not obstacles but important prerequisites and contributors to military effectiveness.