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Research Report

Multi-year Defence Agreements: A Model for Modern Defence?

Margriet Drent
Minke Meijnders
Copyright Date: Sep. 1, 2015
Published by: Clingendael Institute
Pages: 26
OPEN ACCESS
https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep05497

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 2-3)
  2. (pp. 4-4)
  3. (pp. 5-5)

    Most European countries are struggling with their defence policies and the role of their armed forces. In the Netherlands, for instance, the defence establishment has been concerned for years that the defence budget is an easy target for the Ministry of Finance’s balancing of the books and that a lack of support for defence policies creates inconsistencies in the political direction given to defence.¹ The bottom line is that defence policies should be consistent over a number of years, enjoying broad political and public support and that the armed forces receive sufficient funding during a reasonable time horizon in relation...

  4. (pp. 6-15)

    Danish politics are characterised by a consensual and consultative style of decision-making.³ In addition, there is a high degree of consensus on the Danish role in international affairs, the purpose of defence and the role of the armed forces. The question is whether this is the result of the practice of ‘Defence Agreements’ or, vice versa, whether this practice is a consequence of the consensual character of Danish politics.

    Denmark has a very homogeneous society: 89.6% of the population of 5.6 million are of Danish decent and 90% are protestant.⁴ The homogeneity of Denmark is often cited as a reason...

  5. (pp. 16-23)

    Sweden is a parliamentary representative democracy; its legislative branch lies with the unicameral ‘Riksdag’ with 349 members. Elections are held every four years, and a government is formed fairly quickly afterwards. The current political landscape is characterised by bloc politics, with a centre-left and a centre-right bloc, with the Sweden Democrats (a nationalist party) holding the balance of power. After the last election in September 2014, the Social Democrats and the Greens formed a minority government. While the Sweden Democrats doubled their support, they have remained isolated as the other parties have repeatedly stated that they are not willing to...

  6. (pp. 24-25)

    The Danish and Swedish cases of ‘Defence Agreements’ are similar in many ways, but also show important differences. Denmark distinguishes between the Defence Commission that prepares a Report that is comparable to a White Paper, on the one hand, and the political agreement between coalition and opposition parties, the actual ‘Defence Agreements’, on the other. Defence Commissions are only created in case of major strategic changes, in practice only once in approximately ten years, while the Defence Agreements are concluded in a five-year cycle and are the basis of defence policies and are translated into the budget. In Sweden, a...

  7. (pp. 26-26)