Denmark to ‘close surveillance gap’ with new Faroe Islands radar

Denmark and the Faroe Islands announced on Thursday installation of a new radar which they said would improve surveillance coverage of Faroese airspace.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen during a visit to the Faroe Islands
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen during a visit to the Faroe Islands on June 8th. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

Danish Minister of Defence Morten Bødskov signed an agreement over the air warning radar with Faroese counterpart Jenis av Rana during a visit to the Faroe Islands, an autonomous territory of Denmark, on Thursday.

“We are looking at a forthcoming time with increased activity. Much of the Russian military is currently concentrated on Ukraine, but there is no doubt that we will see increased activity in our region,” Bødskov said.

A previous radar installation on the Faroe Islands was removed in 2007, leaving a gap in radar coverage in the territory’s airspace.

The new radar is expected to be located at Sornfelli, a site where a radar has previously stood. It is expected to take five years to install.

Defence alliance Nato currently does not have a full picture of flight traffic from the northern part of Great Britain towards the Faroe Islands, Iceland and southern parts of Greenland.

“There has been a gap, and it must be closed. The new security situation in Europe is also an important reason for it becoming more relevant to close that gap,” Bødskov earlier said in reference to the war in Ukraine.

The radar is part of an Arctic spending plan passed by the Danish parliament in February. That agreement required Faroese permission for the radar to be built.

Several politicians in the Faroe Islands’ Lagtinget parliament have however accused Copenhagen of making the decision without them.

That resulted in extensive Faroese discussion of the matter before Bødskov was eventually given the go-ahead.

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Denmark’s military spending now in line with Nato GDP target

Nato has recognised that Denmark, which has consistently spent less than the target for Nato members on its military in recent years, now fulfils the spending criteria, the Danish minister of defence said on Wednesday.

Denmark's military spending now in line with Nato GDP target

Denmark now spends at least 2 percent of its GDP on its military, thereby complying with the target for Nato member countries.

Nato itself has confirmed Denmark’s military spending is in line with its target, Defence Minister Troels Lund Poulsen said on Wednesday.

Poulsen is currently in Brussels to take part in a summit of defence ministers from Nato member countries.

“With the dialogues and discussions I’ve had with Nato, Nato now recognises that Denmark is on 2 percent from 2023 onwards,” he said according to broadcaster DR.

“And that is a very good announcement to be able to make: that we have now fulfilled the target we have talked a lot about politically over the last year,” he said.

Nato member states last summer renewed a commitment to reach the 2 percent of GDP military spending target. The alliance’s General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg has said he expects 18 of the 31 countries in Nato to now meet the criteria by this year.

Last year, only 11 countries including the United States, Poland, Greece and Estonia met the target according to Nato.

“We are making real progress,” Stoltenberg said.

Denmark has not previously met the target since it was introduced, but Poulsen said that “additional investments we are making in Danish defence and security” now made this possible.


“It is also because we are delivering a substantial contribution in relation to military donations to Ukraine,” he said.

The Danish announcement comes after recent controversial comments from former US president Donald Trump, who is favourite to become the candidate for the Republican party for the US general election in November.

At a rally last weekend, Trump told supporters he would said he would “encourage” Russia to attack any of the US’s Nato allies if he considers them to have not met their financial obligations.

“In fact, I would encourage [Russia] to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills,” he said in relation to whether he as president would protect a Nato member which spent less than its target.

The comments have drawn alarm but Poulsen sought to play down concerns, telling DR it would be better to “have ice in our veins” over a potential second Trump presidency.

“It’s also in the interests of the United States for us to have a strong Nato – and also a strong Europe. If you look at Europe’s economy, the US is also dependent on Europe doing well. I think that’s also crucial for Donald Trump,” he said.