Denmark has officially announced its intention to participate in a US-led operation in the Red Sea. The Danish Defense Minister confirmed that a frigate and a staff officer would be sent to aid in the planning of the operation. This decision comes in response to Houthi attacks disrupting the shipping activities of Danish company, Maersk.
The participation of Denmark in this operation marks a significant shift in policy. For 30 years, Denmark had been exempt from EU defense policy due to a clause agreed upon. This clause was abandoned following a referendum prompted by the war in Ukraine, paving the way for Denmark's involvement in the Red Sea operation.
France and Italy’s position
While Denmark is collaborating with the US, France and Italy are taking a different approach. Last week, France abstained from participating in airstrikes against rebel Houthi sites in Yemen. French President Macron stated that the decision was taken to avoid escalation and described the situation as a diplomatic issue rather than a military one. France and Italy are reportedly planning a new naval operation in the Red Sea. This operation, named “Aspis” – Greek for shield, will be executed at the European level.
Other European nations’ involvement
Among the main contributors expected to join the European operation are Italy and Germany, subject to approval by the Bundestag. Spain, however, has explicitly stated it will not participate in the European operation.
The Netherlands, already part of the US-led coalition, is yet to make a decision on whether to participate in the EU naval operation. The Dutch Defense Minister is currently seeking clarification on the contributions expected from other member states before making a move.