22nd Apr 2019

Danes likely to have two referendums on EU treaty op-outs

The Danish centre-right government has launched negotiations with opposition parties to agree on a strategy for scrapping opt-outs from the EU treaties, with the government hoping to abolish the derogations in two steps, according to Danish media reports.

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen is set to call for a referendum in September to remove the derogation from judicial and defence co-operation and at the same time announce a subsequent referendum on the euro.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • The Danish government is eager to have their country participating fully in the EU. (Photo: EUobserver)

Denmark is not bound by first-pillar legislation on justice and home affairs and EU citizenship and does not take part in EU defence co-operation.

Denmark is also not obliged to take part in the single currency and refused to abolish its national currency, the Krone, in a referendum in 2000.

The liberal-conservative coalition government is eager to scrap the opt-outs and have the country participating fully in the EU.

Scrapping the opt-outs are also among the few bits of unfinished businesses for Mr Rasmussen, a liberal politician, before he could eventually accept an international post.

Mr Rasmussen has so far firmly rejected all queries and insists he is not a candidate for any international posts and that he has no plans to quit his job as Denmark's prime minister.

But an unusually busy travel schedule has made most Danes believe that their prime minister, in power since 2001, is in fact hunting for a promotion.

Last month, Danish national news agency Ritzau went through his diary for this year and found that he had spent almost as many days abroad as at home: 53 in Denmark and 47 on foreign trips.

According to Liberal insiders, Mr Rasmussen is already the unofficial candidate of the European Liberals for a top post in the EU.

Big-bang referendum difficult to win

Opinion polls have suggested a big-bang referendum including all four Danish opt-outs would be very difficult to win – but taking the issues one-by-one would increase the chances of a yes.

According to a fresh poll by the Greens polling institute, published by business paper Boersen on Friday (9 May), a slim plurality of 43 percent would accept scrapping all four derogations in such a big-bang referendum, 39 percent would vote no and 18 percent are undecided.

Taken one-by-one the chances for a yes would grow. A large majority - 63 percent - is ready to scrap the defence opt-out, with 22 percent against.

A less comfortable majority (38%) want to end the judicial opt-out, with 31 percent against.

Scrapping the Danish currency and joining the euro is also supported by a majority of 54 percent, but the opposition remains high, on 42 percent.

The government is eager to have the Socialist People's Party included in its Yes front, but the party is still opposed to the euro. It could however join the Yes front if the judicial and defence opt-outs are singled out for a special referendum.

Another uncertain aspect of the plan is the outcome the Irish referendum on 12 June on the Lisbon Treaty. Only if the treaty is ratified in all 27 member states would the new top jobs such as an EU president be available.


Romania enlists priests to promote euro switchover plan

Romania is due to join the single currency in 2024 - despite currently only meeting one of the four criteria. Now the government in Bucharest is enlisting an unlikely ally to promote the euro to the public: the clergy.

Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all

The visit of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz to the White House on Wednesday showed that the current rift in transatlantic relations is deepening by the day.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us