9th Jun 2023

Danish MPs vote against EU treaty referendum

The Danish parliament has voted against having a referendum on the new EU treaty, making it likely that Ireland will be the only EU member state to put the document to a public poll.

The parliament's vote on Tuesday (11 December) came shortly after prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said his centre-right government would not support a referendum.

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 no transfer of sovereignty, and therefore there is no reason to hold a referendum," said Rasmussen (Photo: © Council of the European Union, 2000-2005)

"The government proposes a ratification of the Lisbon Treaty by a decision in the Folketing [parliament] and not by a referendum," said Mr Fogh Rassmussen at his weekly press conference.

The decision was largely based on a report published by the Danish ministry of Justice earlier this month which concluded that the treaty does not transfer further sovereignty to the EU.

"There is no transfer of sovereignty, and therefore there is no reason to hold a referendum," said the prime minister.

Denmark's constitution requires a referendum if the country is seen as losing sovereignty.

But the ministry of justice has been accused of bias in some quarters.

Professor of European and International Public Law at Copenhagen University, Dr Hjalte Rasmussen, is one of the critics.

"The Danish government asked itself to advise itself. In the report, there is no regard for the power of the [European] Court of Justice to alter the Treaty text. In this way, the Court can transfer sovereignty to the EU. There are tonnes of examples of this practice," Dr Rasmussen said to EUobserver.

Dr Rasmussen suggests asking experts from Danish universities to look at the relation between the EU's Lisbon Treaty and the Danish Constitution.

MPs who voted against having a referendum refute accusations of bias in the ministry's report.

They also say that it was not purely legal arguments that persuaded them that Danish citizens need not vote on the EU document.

The Danish decision comes just two days before the EU is to formally sign off the treaty in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon.

EU leaders are aiming to get the document ratified throughout the bloc next year for it to come into place in 2009.


Part of EU middle class 'being squeezed out', MEP warns

EUobserver interviewed Spanish MEP Jordi Cañas to discuss the situation of Europe's middle class, the dangerous political reaction if certain groups feel neglected, and the role that member states and the EU can play at the policy level.

MEPs to urge block on Hungary taking EU presidency in 2024

"This will be the first time a member state that is under the Article 7 procedure will take over the rotating presidency of the council," French Green MEP Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, the key lawmaker on Hungary, warned.

European Parliament scales back luxury MEP pension fund

The European Parliament's Bureau, a political body composed of the president and its vice-presidents, decided to slash payouts from the fund by 50 percent, freeze automatic indexations, and increase the pension age from 65 to 67.


Right of Reply from the Hungarian government

Authors Samira Rafaela MEP and Tom Theuns present as facts the extreme views of a politically-motivated campaign in the European Parliament. By doing so, they undermine the very foundations of the European Union.

Latest News

  1. Belgian bâtonnier on Russia: 'You can have a client you don't like'
  2. EU's proposed ethics body 'toothless', say campaigners
  3. Study: 90% of Spanish inflation 'driven by corporate profits'
  4. If Spanish economy is doing well, why is Sanchez poised to lose?
  5. EU lawyers for Russia: making 'good' money?
  6. The 'BlackRock exemption' has no place in the EU's due diligence directive
  7. Europeans don't see China as a rival, but weapons to Russia is a red line
  8. Cleaning workers urge Parliament: 'Europe should lead by example'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers20 June: Launch of the new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations
  2. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  3. ICLEISeven actionable measures to make food procurement in Europe more sustainable
  4. World BankWorld Bank Report Highlights Role of Human Development for a Successful Green Transition in Europe
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic summit to step up the fight against food loss and waste
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersThink-tank: Strengthen co-operation around tech giants’ influence in the Nordics

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us