Danish lawmakers approve 20% defense spending increase

Denmark’s parliament agreed to increase the defense budget by an additional 20 percent over the next six years, approving a proposal set forth by the government in October.

Lawmakers on Sunday approved an extra 12.8 billion kroner ($2.14 billion) for the armed forces by 2023. The defense budget for 2018 was already set at 22 billion kroner.

It is the first real budget increase since the Cold War, according to Politiken. Around $500 million will be allocated for cyber security, and there are plans to boost recruitment.

Under the terms of the deal, Denmark will also create a 4,000-member army brigade focused on countering Russia in the Baltic Sea, Reuters reported.

“The threat from Russia is real and increasing, so we must show determination to defense – and we are determined,” Reuters quoted Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen as saying.

Denmark’s defense budget is negotiated every five years, and Rasmussen had proposed the 20-percent increase last year, citing the country’s NATO obligations.

“We want to look at ourselves as a core NATO member, and in order to behave like such a member we need to increase our expenditures,” Rasmussen said at the time.

Denmark currently spends about 1.2 percent of its GDP on defense, according to the finance ministry.

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