Country Report on Terrorism 2017 - Chapter 1 - Denmark

Overview: The Kingdom of Denmark (which includes the autonomous constituent countries of Greenland and the Faroe Islands) devoted significant assets to counterterrorism programs and initiatives to counter violent extremism, domestically and abroad. Denmark cooperates closely with the United States, the United Nations (UN), and the European Union (EU) on counterterrorism initiatives, including within the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) and the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

According to the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET), at least 145 Danish citizens and residents voluntarily left Denmark to fight in Syria and Iraq since the summer of 2012. PET remained concerned that Danish fighters returning to Denmark with terrorist training would seek to radicalize others. PET was also concerned about the potential for small groups or individuals to commit terrorist acts. Danish security agencies worked together to prevent terrorist attacks and counter ISIS’s attempts to recruit foreign terrorist fighters in its territory. According to the PET-administered Center for Terror Analysis (CTA), up to 10 percent of foreign terrorist fighters from Denmark are female.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Denmark continued to use its 2006 terrorism legislation that allows information sharing between its agencies responsible for counterterrorism and foreign terrorist fighters – the PET and the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (DDIS). This year the government began to implement its National Action Plan to Prevent and Counter Extremism and Radicalization, approved in October 2016. Efforts to counter terrorism are also shared among the Danish National Police, the Public Prosecution Service, and the Danish Prison and Probation Service. Danish security and law enforcement agencies share information via the CTA, which – as the Danish government’s intelligence fusion center – constitutes the focal point for reporting from the Danish National Police, PET, DDIS, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Danish Emergency Management Agency. The Danish police and the Danish defense forces share responsibility for preventing terrorist attacks in Copenhagen and on the borders.

Denmark implemented electronic passport checks at its points of entry for individuals arriving from outside of Schengen countries. Checkpoints for identity documents at Denmark’s border with Germany were established in response to Sweden’s decision to impose document checks at its border with Denmark in January 2016. Random checks for identity documents at many border crossings remained in place.

To free up police resources for anti-gang efforts, the military supplemented the police at the borders and as security for the Jewish synagogue in Copenhagen. In May, the government banned six religious figures, who had been deemed a threat to public order due to their alleged role in promoting “hate speech,” from entering the country for two years, including one U.S. citizen.

Counterterrorism-related actions by law enforcement included:

Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Denmark is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Its financial intelligence unit (FIU), the Money Laundering Secretariat, is a member of the Egmont Group and cooperates closely with other Nordic FIUs. Denmark has a robust legal framework to combat the financing of terrorism. PET is the lead organization for investigation in this area.

The Danish government continued anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing initiatives in East Africa and Yemen as a part of its foreign assistance. Denmark continued its efforts to counter illicit financial flows with national banks and other financial institutions in Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon. In June, parliament passed a law to strengthen efforts to prevent the Danish financial system from being involved in money laundering and terrorist financing. The law dictates that companies and financial institutions must increase their focus on the risk associated with currency trading and conduct a risk analysis annually.

According to an evaluation conducted by the FATF in August, Denmark has a legal system in place to apply targeted financial sanctions, but “implementation has technical and practical deficiencies in large part due to delays at the EU level...and the absence of any specific measures to freeze the assets of EU internals.”

In January, the Minister of Employment announced it was stopping payment of unemployment benefits to identified ISIS foreign terrorist fighters. In December, the media reported that Danish aid money may have been used to support the Nour al-Din al-Zinki extremist group through a program the government coordinated with the Free Syrian Police. The foreign minister suspended support for the program while the case is being investigated.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2018 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.

Countering Violent Extremism (CVE): The Danish Parliament continued funding its CVE Action Plan. The plan calls for a multi-level approach that includes information sharing between schools, social services agencies, municipalities, and the police. The coordination between these entities takes place in “info-houses” throughout the 12 police districts that act as storehouses of knowledge regarding radicalized behavior among youth. A national hotline was established where residents can seek advice and guidance if they know of someone on the path to terrorism.

In May, the City of Aarhus and the East Jutland Police Department partnered with the Strong Cities Network (SCN) to host a three-day training event for 500 stakeholders from 50 countries. Through SCN, Denmark helped launch a prevention network in six municipalities in Jordan and Lebanon. The Danish cities of Aarhus, Copenhagen, Viborg, Guldborgsund, and Gentofte are all SCN members.

In June, the government presented its new foreign and security policy strategy for 2017‑2019. The strategy includes policies to block websites with terrorist propaganda and design programs to discourage continued radicalization of persons involved in gangs or showing signs of extremism.

International and Regional Cooperation: The Danish government is committed to working within the UN framework, through the EU, and with other international and regional organizations. Denmark is a member of and actively participates in the GCTF, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, INTERPOL, the Bern Club, and the European Counterterrorism Center. In December 2015, voters rejected a proposition to end the country’s opt-out from the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs area, which would have permitted Denmark to continue to cooperate with Europol after May 2017. However, through a cooperation agreement, Denmark maintains its access to Europol’s databases and will have observer status at board meetings. In December, Denmark co-sponsored UN Security Council resolution 2396 on returning and relocating foreign terrorist ‎fighters. Denmark also implemented programs to support national strategies to combat terrorist finance and to counter violent extremism in the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and Southeast Asia.