Tuesday

19th Mar 2019

More Danes want referendum on EU membership

  • The Epinion poll show almost dead heat in Denmark on EU membership: 44 percentage would vote to remain, 42 percentage would vote to leave. (Photo: Valentina Pop)

Support for a Danish referendum on EU membership is on the rise, according to an Epinion poll conducted for DR News, the national TV broadcaster.

Forty two percent of Danes now want a vote on whether Denmark should continue to be a member of the EU. That is five percent more than just three months ago.

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In February, only 37 percent said they wanted a UK-type referendum.

"I think it is very encouraging and illustrates that many Danes are tired of the way the European Union works," Kristian Thulesen Dahl, the chairman of the right-wing Danish People's Party, told DR News.

It is likely that Britain's forthcoming EU referendum on 23 June has inspired the Danish mood.

Thulesen Dahl said that his party, which sits with British PM David Cameron's Conservative Party in the European Parliament's ECR group, would not campaign to leave the EU, but would, like Cameron, call for EU powers to be clawed back to the capital.

The Epinion poll also showed falling support for the EU in general.

In November last year, 56 percent said they would vote Yes to continued EU membership if there was a referendum. The figure is now 44 percent. The survey said that 31 percent back in November 2015 would have voted No. That figure is now 42 percent.

Soeren Soendergaard, representing the eurosceptic Red-Green Alliance, said a referendum should be held within one year.

"Denmark has never had a referendum about less EU. The Brits will have one, and it is time we have one too”, he said.

Peter Hummelgaard, the EU spokesman for the opposition Social Democratic party said the new development was disturbing.

"It would be an extremely bad idea to have a DK-exit [vote]. It is not in Denmark's interest to opt out of the EU," he told DR News.

"Our major export [base] is within the EU. Our economy is addicted to it, and if we are to tackle all the challenges, whether it's the refugee crisis, the climate crisis, the inequality crisis or tax havens, it's something we have to do together," he said.

Speaking for the ruling Liberal party in the minority government, Jakob Ellemann-Jensen added: "Let's just take one thing at a time. Brits should have a vote and let them take care of that. Then let's see what the outcome will be. I hope of course that the Brits remain in the EU, that would also strengthen Denmark".

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