Tuesday

4th Oct 2022

Low turnout risks pushing EU backwards, says Danish PM

  • Low turnout risks putting Europe in the background, says Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Photo: European Commission)

The apathy Europe's voters have shown during the recent European elections could have grave consequences for the EU, Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen warned yesterday (15 June).

In an interview with the Financial Times Deutschland, Mr Rasmussen said, "If this trend continues downwards, then there is a real danger. If we weaken the institutions, we would have a return to nationalism. That would be a big step backwards".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"There is a real risk that we will re-nationalise policies and take several steps backwards to the Europe of the past - the Europe in which there is no co-operation and, seen from a smaller country's perspective, that would be a real danger", he continued.

Furthermore, such a step backwards would increase the risk of a two - or many - speed Europe, according to the Danish PM.

Voter turnout in Sunday's European elections fell to a new low of 45.3 percent. In some new member states, only one fifth of voters bothered to vote.

Failure is not an option

And the apathy of Europe's voters makes it all the more important that the EU's leaders reach agreement on the Constitutional Treaty at the summit which begins tomorrow (17 June).

"We cannot afford a failure", declares Mr Rasmussen. "We can and will close out the negotiations".

He said that the proposed "double majority" system of voting would probably be adopted, whereby 55 percent of countries representing 65 percent of the population could constitute a majority when the EU makes decisions.

Timing is everything

Turning to more domestic issues, Mr Rasmussen hinted that a proposed Danish referendum on the Constitution would be followed by other votes intended to end Denmark's opt-outs on issues such as defence and the euro. It is "absurd" that Denmark is not represented on these issues, said the prime minister.

And he highlighted the lack of support for Denmark's eurosceptic parties in the recent election, saying, "That is the most important signal: we can concentrate on positive things - on how we can maximise Denmark's influence in the EU".

But he was less certain about the timing of a possible referendum on the Constitutional Treaty, saying that he had to be very careful about the timing of such a vote.

However, he rejected the idea of a Europe-wide referendum.

Feature

Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy

EUobserver spoke with several business figures and all confirmed they voted for Georgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy because it promised stability, less bureaucracy and tax cuts. Matteo Salvini's anti-EU rhetoric scared them, while they trust Meloni has "more common sense".

Europe's far-right celebrates Meloni victory

In Warsaw and Budapest, the prime ministers were quick to congratulate the new Italian leader, who — they hope — will back them in their battles with the EU over civil rights, rule of law and democratic backsliding.

EU seeks crisis powers to take control over supply chains

The Single Market Emergency Instrument (SMEI) introduces a staged, step-by-step, approach — providing emergency powers to the EU Commission to tackle any potential threat which could trigger disruptions or shortages of key products within the EU.

Testimony from son rocks trial of ex-Czech PM Babiš

In a fraud trial relating to €2m in EU subsidies, Andrej Babiš son testified his signature on share-transfer agreements was forged. He claims his father transferred the shares to him without his knowledge, making him a front man for scheme.

Podcast

How Europe helped normalise Georgia Meloni

Should Georgia Meloni be considered neofascist? She insists she's a patriotic conservative. And indeed, if she's prime minister, she's expected to respect Italy's democracy — if only to keep money flowing from the EU.

News in Brief

  1. Czechs warn joint-nationality citizens in Russia on mobilisation
  2. Greece to unveil proposal for capping EU gas prices
  3. Four dead, 29 missing, after dinghy found off Canary Islands
  4. Orbán: German €200bn shield is start of 'cannibalism in EU'
  5. Lithuania expels top Russian diplomat
  6. Poland insists on German WW2 reparations
  7. Russia halts gas supplies to Italy
  8. Bulgaria risks hung parliament after inconclusive vote

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Last-minute legal changes to Bosnian election law stir controversy
  2. EU wants probe into alleged Nagorno-Karabakh war crimes
  3. EU officials were warned of risk over issuing financial warning
  4. EU debates national energy plans amid calls for more coordination
  5. What Modi and Putin’s ‘unbreakable friendship’ means for the EU
  6. EU leaders have until Friday for refugee resettlement pledges
  7. Cities and regions stand with citizens and SMEs ahead of difficult winter
  8. Editor's weekly digest: A week of leaks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us