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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Fact Sheet: The United States and Denmark – NATO Allies and Global Partners

President Obama hosted Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt for a meeting in the Oval Office on February 24.  Denmark has the distinction of being the only Nordic country that is a member of both NATO and the European Union (EU), making it an especially valuable partner of the United States in a wide variety of endeavors in Europe and around the world.  Denmark currently holds the rotating EU Presidency until the end of June. 
Defense and Security Cooperation:  As NATO allies, the United States and Denmark are committed to each other’s security and stand together in critical crisis areas worldwide.

  • Libya:  Denmark was among the first and most active participants in the UN-authorized NATO military intervention to protect Libyan civilians.  It deployed F-16s during the entire seven-month civilian protection mission. 
  • Afghanistan:  Denmark is a key contributor to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), currently providing 650 combat troops operating without national caveats in one of the most challenging areas of the country.   Denmark will continue to play a strong role in Helmand Province providing military forces through 2014 and other training and development assets beyond that date.  Since 2002, it has given approximately $530 million in bilateral development assistance to Afghanistan. 
  • NATO Capabilities:  Denmark is one of NATO’s most capable allies.  The United States welcomes its interest in leading the Smart Defense initiative to purchase jointly and stockpile munitions, which will cut costs and improve efficiency.
  • Bilateral Defense Cooperation:  The United States and Danish militaries enjoy a very high level of interoperability; many Danish officers, including all its pilots, have trained in the United States. 
  • Missile Defense:  The United States and Denmark cooperate actively in implementing the European Phased Adaptive Approach.  The Kingdom of Denmark is home to U.S. early-warning radar at Thule Air Base in Greenland and hosted the 2011 multinational missile-defense conference, where NATO focused on strengthening cooperation to protect our populations and territory from ballistic missiles.
  • Counter-Piracy:  Denmark is one of the world’s main seafaring nations (some 10 percent of global shipping moves in Danish-owned or –operated ships), and as such, is a leader in international efforts to counter piracy off the coast of Somalia, chairing an international working group on legal issues and twice commanding an international naval task force.  Denmark has made significant contributions, including maritime patrol aircraft, to the NATO-led counter-piracy operation.
  • Security and Capacity-Building Cooperation Against Terrorism:  Denmark is one of the United States’ strongest and most dynamic counterterrorism partners.  Denmark is a member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), a major multilateral initiative to strengthen the international architecture to deal with 21st century terrorism.  Denmark is particularly active in the Forum’s work in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. 
  • Nuclear Security Summit:  The United States and Denmark will participate in the March 26-27 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul.  Both countries support efforts to lock down vulnerable nuclear material and acknowledge the important actions of the IAEA and multilateral initiatives such as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism.
  • Law Enforcement:  U.S. and Danish authorities enjoy excellent cooperation encompassing a wide range of law-enforcement issues, including cyber, drug, fraud, fugitive, gang-violence, and online child-predator matters.

Diplomatic Cooperation and Global Development:  Denmark is one of the world’s most active and generous providers of international development assistance and an active partner with the United States in addressing challenges around the globe.

  • Development Assistance:  Denmark gave approximately $2.9 billion in development assistance in 2010, which was 0.9 percent of GDP; the new government has pledged to raise it to even greater levels.  
  • Women’s Entrepreneurship:  On December 14, the United States, Denmark and Goldman Sachs announced at the World Bank a public-private partnership to support women’s entrepreneurship, starting with a pilot phase in Tanzania.  The partnership will build on Goldman Sachs’s “10,000 Women” initiative and the U.S. State Department’s program for female entrepreneurs. 
  • Women in Global Security:  The U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen and the Danish Foreign Ministry co-hosted a regional conference on the Role of Women in Global Security in October 2010, drawing high-level participation from the Nordic and Baltic states, the U.S., NATO, and three focus countries:  Afghanistan, Uganda and Liberia.
  • Democratization:  Both countries cooperate in supporting democratization efforts in the Middle East and North Africa.  Denmark provided funding totaling about $46 million in 2011.
  • Bilateral Cooperation:  Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Christian Friis Bach and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah were signatories of a Joint Statement by Development Ministers leading up to the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, South Korea.  The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has agreed to co-host a USAID conference focused on the Horn of Africa in March in Nairobi, Kenya.

Economic, Energy and Environmental Cooperation:  The robust U.S.-Danish economic partnership creates jobs, is helping to build a sustainable energy economy, and advances scientific research in the Arctic.

  • Trade, Investment, and Jobs: The United States is Denmark’s largest trading partner outside the European Union.  Total bilateral trade in goods and services was approximately $25 billion in 2010.  Danish direct investment in the U.S. was $9.9 billion in 2010.  More than 250 Danish companies have subsidiaries in the U.S. employing over 35,000 Americans. 
  • Green Growth:  Denmark is the only net exporter of energy in the EU and a global leader in energy efficiency and renewable energy technology.  The United States and Denmark work closely in multiple fora, including the Clean Energy Ministerial, to build the foundation for a sustainable global energy economy.
    • In October, Denmark hosted the first Global Green Growth Forum, a high-level gathering of international business, governmental and research leaders seeking to promote green economy issues.
    • The U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen and the Danish employers’ federation jointly facilitated matchmaking between American and Danish clean-tech companies at two Green Partnership events (May 2010 in Copenhagen, September 2011 in Washington D.C.), to create opportunities to export clean energy technology to markets around the world.
  • Scientific Cooperation:  The U.S. and Denmark entered into a bilateral Science and Technology agreement in 2009.  The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Technical University of Denmark have jointly led research to design more efficient wind energy systems since 2007, and are expanding their efforts to other renewable-energy and energy-efficiency technologies.  Danish and U.S. health authorities have a history of cooperation on such topics as health information technology, communicable and non-communicable diseases, antimicrobial resistance and improving health care quality in hospital and primary care settings.    In 2006, Denmark opened its Innovation Center in Silicon Valley, accelerating the entry of Danish companies into Silicon Valley and promoting U.S. investments in Denmark.
  • Arctic Collaboration:  The United States and Denmark are both members of the Arctic Council (AC).  The Kingdom of Denmark released a comprehensive 2011-2020 Arctic Strategy late last year that calls for environmentally-sustainable development achieved through close cooperation with Arctic nations.
    • Denmark and Greenland hosted the AC foreign ministers’ meeting in Nuuk, Greenland in May 2011, where the AC’s first legally-binding agreement was signed, dealing with Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue in the Arctic.  Denmark, the United States and other AC countries agreed to develop plans for ecosystem-based management of the Arctic Ocean.
    • The U.S.-Denmark-Greenland Joint Committee (JC) promotes action-based cooperation on a wide range of scientific, environmental, economic, commercial and educational matters.  A wide range of U.S. government agencies are active in Greenland, in close collaboration with Danish and Greenlandic counterparts.
  • Climate Change:  Denmark is a leader in addressing climate change.  It pledged $207 million for fast-start climate finance for 2010-2012.  The current government has announced a unilateral goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40 percent by 2020.  An impetus is green growth, particularly given increased global wind technology competition.  Denmark’s global export of clean technologies peaked in 2008 at approximately $11.8 billion.
    • As president of the UN’s 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-15) in December 2009, Denmark hosted President Obama and some 120 heads of state and government along with 24,000 people, the largest-ever gathering associated with international climate negotiations.  The resulting Copenhagen Accord has paved the way for agreement in Cancun and Durban on a new framework to address climate change that includes action from developed and developing countries.
    • Denmark takes an active role in low-emissions development strategies (LEDS), encouraging developing countries’ transition to low-emission, climate-resilient economies.  In December 2010, Denmark joined an initiative with the Alliance of Small Island States, the World Bank and the UN Development Program, and pledged $14.5 million to kick off the initiative.

Educational and Cultural Ties:  Traditionally close relations between our two societies continue to grow stronger through regular educational and cultural exchange.

  • Educational Exchange:
    • Since 2009, the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen has seen a 46 percent increase in student visa applications and a 22 percent increase in exchange visitor applications. 
    • More than 3,400 visas were issued to Danish students traveling to the United States on academic exchanges and for long-term study in 2011. 
    • Last year marked the 60th anniversary of the Fulbright program in Denmark.   Since 1951, more than 2,000 Danes have been educated in the United States and more than 1,000 Americans in Denmark on Fulbright scholarships, including Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister Noa Reddington, chairman of the parliamentary Foreign Policy Committee Jeppe Kofod, and former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Economy Niels Helveg Petersen.
    • The State Department has a unique online partnership with the Danish educational system, which disseminates information about the United States to Danish schools.
  • Cultural Exchange:
    • As one of the leading Jazz centers of Europe, Denmark has been home to many American Jazz icons such as Dexter Gordon and Ben Webster, and continues to attract leading American Jazz artists today.
    • The Royal Danish Ballet maintains close ties to the American Ballet community and tours frequently in the United States, including last year during Queen Margrethe II’s visit.
    • Since gaining a national profile for itself in the 1980s, Danish cinema continues to be celebrated in the United States.  Last year, Susanne Bier became the third Danish director to win an Academy Award.