In partnership with the Royal Danish Embassy in London, the European Security Programme hosted a roundtable discussion at RUSI on Monday 19 May entitled “Rethinking European Security Architectures?”
Admiral Tim Sloth Jørgensen, Danish Chief of Defence Staff Designate and Michael Zilmer-Johns, State Secretary at the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs - responsible for Europe, Security Policy and Transatlantic relations - opened discussions on Danish military transformation, the effect this has on wider issues of military cooperation, as well as current considerations regarding NATO-EU relations and the question of Denmark’s ESDP opt-out.
In defence terms, Britain and Denmark are significant partners and the relationship between their respective militaries’ is one of mutual esteem forged over repeated deployments. The close cooperation of our two countries’ militaries in Afghanistan today is indeed a strong reminder of this, as were the operations of the Danish contingent serving under British divisional command in Iraq between 2003 and 2007.
With the debate amongst European countries on regional security and defence issues being increasingly shaped by both Alliance transformation and the process of European integration, Denmark’s unique status as an NATO and EU Member State maintaining an opt-out from the ESDP process, places it in a distinctive position. Denmark’s changing viewpoint on ESDP, its continued commitment to NATO transformation and other foreign policy issues, was thus debated amongst representatives from the various Whitehall-based security and defence directorates of the Ministry of Defence, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Cabinet Office and Houses of Parliament in order to present some of the more recent Danish perspectives on these issues.
Discussions focused on some of the burning questions relating to the current European security debate and concentrated on the following themes:
Session One Address by Admiral Tim Sloth Jørgensen, Danish Chief of Defence Staff Designate on “Military Transformation in Denmark”
Followed by roundtable discussion: From Bi-lateral to Multi-national; Appraising European military cooperation in the field
Chairman: Major General Graham Messervy-Whiting, RUSI Associate Fellow
Dr. Julian Lewis, UK Shadow Defence Minister
Session Two Address by Michael Zilmer-Johns, State Secretary for Europe and Transatlantic relations, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Followed by roundtable discussion: Reshaping perspectives on Euro-Atlantic Security Institutions
Chairman: HE Birger Riis-Jørgensen, Ambassador of Denmark to the United Kingdom
Thierry Legendre, Policy Adviser, Office of the NATO Secretary General
Andrew Mathewson, Director of Policy for International Organisations, UK MOD