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28.08.2018  17:37

Franco-Danish declaration on European security

Over the past decades, France and Denmark have been standing shoulder to shoulder in the defence and security of Europe, on European soil as well as in the Balkans, Sahel, the Middle East and beyond, in the contexts of NATO, UN, EU and international coalitions. Today we reconfirm our common legacy by emphasizing our shared commitment to a safe and secure Europe.

In a context of growing instability in Europe's neighbourhood and the many challenges threatening the security of Europeans, France and Denmark are committed to ensuring a resilient Europe with the capacity to act autonomously when and where necessary. France and Denmark recall our shared interests across a range of issues including the stabilisation of our neighbouring environment, the security of Europe and our sovereignty in the digital space. In all these areas, European nations will have to tailor common solutions to our common challenges.

France and Denmark welcome the progress made in recent years in the field of European security and underline our continuous determination to be involved in the security of the continent. Denmark is unable to participate in PESCO due to its defence opt-out but firmly supports the efforts to strengthen the EU as a global security and defence actor.

Denmark and France remain committed members of NATO and the transatlantic Alliance. It is essential that the development of the CSDP go hand in hand with enhanced cooperation with NATO, which remains the cornerstone of our collective defence.  In this regard, France and Denmark welcome the recent Joint Declaration by the Presidents of the European Council and Commission and the NATO Secretary General outlining progress made in EU-NATO cooperation. 

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Strengthening the national resources allocated to defence is the essential corollary of our increasing responsibility to provide for our own security. The EU and NATO are encouraging Member States and Allies to accelerate defence spending after a decade of downward trends, and are promoting coherence in national defence planning.

To answer this call, France and Denmark encourage further consolidation of the European cooperation already underway, which will reinforce a competitive and innovative defence industry and ensure modern and shared capabilities on which Europeans' operational and political capacity for action will be built.

France and Denmark also wish to unite our efforts to ensure that the EU is able to protect itself against CBRN risks and to resolutely fight against impunity for the use of chemical weapons. International partnerships constitute a platform for permanent cooperation between states that share a strong determination to combat those who develop or use chemical weapons in violation of international law. Denmark is a member of the International Partnership against Impunity for the use of Chemical Weapons, launched by France in January 2018.

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To cope with our common security challenges, France and Denmark are underlining the importance of continued defence cooperation between European nations. European solidarity should continue to be demonstrated on the ground. As a result, France and Denmark will continue to cooperate closely on a number of key issues, such as supporting NATO's enhanced Forward Presence in Estonia as well as fighting terrorism and strengthen stability in the Sahel.

In addition, the Danish and French Armed Forces will further deepen their relationship, including through the recent initiative to integrate a Danish frigate into a French carrier strike group in 2019, pending Danish parliamentary approval. Furthermore, common French-Danish exercises related to search and rescue in the Arctic have been planned for 2018 and onwards. Moreover, Denmark and France will soon sign an agreement on the provision of mutual logistic support between the Danish and French armed forces.

The institutional frameworks of the European Union and NATO are further complemented by regional defence cooperation, such as NORDEFCO, particularly among countries that have a strong operational culture and demonstrate a willingness to contribute militarily wherever their security is at stake.

This is the purpose of the European Intervention Initiative (EII), an ambitious cooperation framework initiated by France with the participation of several European allies, including Denmark in full respect of its opt-out from the CSDP.  The objective is to foster a common European strategic culture, which will ultimately enhance our ability to carry out military missions and operations to strengthen Europe's security, whatever the framework is, on the whole spectrum of crises.

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A further strengthening of Europe as a security actor will be dependent on the ability and possibility for European companies to work together in order to achieve a modern, competitive and cost-effective use of defence budgets and in the end create an integrated European defence industry. France and Denmark therefore also support a rapid implementation of the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP).
Together, France and Denmark also support the European Defence Fund within the framework of the next multiannual financial framework as a key tool for the development of an innovative and competitive defence industry. The development of a sustainable, ambitious and robust European defence cooperation requires technological innovation, pooling of resources and not least substantial investments. France and Denmark stress the importance of the initiative in order to secure and promote progress both on research and development actions.  France and Denmark share a commitment to the European Defence Fund, which can ensure that the EU will be equipped with the instruments necessary to meet our ambition of creating a strong internal market for defence and strengthening the EU as a global security actor.

France and Denmark also welcome the progress made to improve military mobility in Europe and encourage further ambitious work in this area, including within the framework of EU-NATO cooperation.

Finally, France and Denmark welcome the proposal to create a European Peace Facility and acknowledge the necessity to create a dedicated instrument to build the EU partner’s security and defence capabilities. It should be based on the EU level of ambition and on a detailed need assessment of the EU partners. In this regard we highlight the importance of the challenges that must be addressed, in the coming years, in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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The endurance of a rule-based international order requires, in the field of defence, a resilient Europe with the capacity to act autonomously when and where necessary and with strong partnerships and modern capabilities. With the initiatives of NATO, the EU and bilateral European collaborations we can continue to improve our security posture.
In a context where the strategic stability of the continent is at stake, and in the light of the growing interweaving of our interests in Europe, France and Denmark call on all European nations to conduct an in-depth dialogue on common European strategic priorities.