Monday

26th Sep 2016

Danish government wants second referendum on euro

Updated 23.11.2007 - 11.50 CET - The recently re-elected Danish government has announced a referendum on scrapping one or more of the country's four EU opt-outs from 1993.

But there is no mention of a vote on the EU Reform Treaty in the new political working programme of the government published on Thursday (22 November).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The four opt-outs were introduced after the Danish people voted no in a referendum on the Maastricht treaty (Photo: European Commission)

"It is no secret that the government has been convinced all the time that the EU opt-outs are a hindrance for Denmark. We now say that the time has come to let people take a stand on it," Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a press conference in Copenhagen.

The Danish liberal-conservative coalition, lead by Mr Fogh Rasmussen, was re-elected by a slim majority in general elections earlier this month.

"With the new treaty, Denmark will be left out of a major part of the co-operation. The government finds that time has outrun the opt-outs from 1993, which were made in another time and under special conditions," the political working plans for the new government read.

The Euro is one of the four opt-outs, but it is more likely that the first referendum will be on the Danish derogation on justice and home affairs or on defence.

A key partner for the government, the New Alliance party, has voiced support for referendums only on defence and justice opt-outs.

Meanwhile, critics of the government's plans say it is illogical to vote on the opt-outs and not on the new EU treaty, which is to go for ratification throughout the 27 member states next year.

"Before a referendum on the Danish opt-outs, we will need a vote on the Lisbon treaty, because it is the most far reaching treaty ever. It also amends the basis for the opt-outs," said Hanne Dahl, leader of the EU-critical JuneMovement.

"With the loss of national veto rights in 68 areas, and the loss of a permanent Danish commissioner, it is obvious that Denmark is handing over sovereignty to the EU," Ms Dahl argues.

The four opt-outs were introduced after the Danish people voted no in a referendum on the Maastricht treaty. At a subsequent referendum, a majority voted yes.

One of the opt-outs is from the Economic and Monetary Union's third phase, which introduced the Euro. This means that future Danish rejection of the opt-outs will lead to the country joining the European monetary union.

Another opt-out is on justice and home affairs, where Denmark currently does not fully take part.

Mr Fogh Rasmussen revealed that the government may be interested in a model similar to what Britain and Ireland have in the justice and home affairs sector.

Under their set-up, the British and Irish decide on whether they wish to participate on a case-by-case basis.

"The treaty makes it possible for Denmark - after a referendum - to decide from case to case to fully participate in the cooperation on justice and home affairs," says the government's programme.

The remaining two opt-outs mean that Denmark does not participate in drafting or acting on common EU defence policies, and that EU citizenship cannot replace Danish citizenship.

According to Danish daily Berlingske Tidende, sources close to the government suggested referendum on the opt-outs could take place next year or in 2009 at the latest.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Brexit: preparing for a bitter divorce

Conservatives Brexiteers and Labour leadership are increasingly leaning away from the Norwegian-style deal with the EU, towards a UK-specific arrangement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFAMessages of Hope From the Basque Country and Galicia
  2. Access NowDigital Rights Heroes and Villains. See Who Protects Your Rights, Who Wants to Take Them Away
  3. Martens CentreQuo Vadis Georgia? What to Expect From the Parliamentary Elections. Debate on 29 September
  4. EJCAppalled by Recommendation to Remove Hamas From EU Terrorism Watch List
  5. GoogleBringing Education to Refugees in Lebanon With the Clooney Foundation for Justice
  6. HuaweiAn Industry-leading ICT Solution Provider and Building a Better World
  7. World VisionUN Refugees Meeting a Wasted Opportunity to Improve the Lives of Millions of Children
  8. Belgrade Security ForumCan Democracy Survive Global Disorder?
  9. YouthProAktivEntrepreneurship, Proactivity, Innovation - Turn Ideas Into Action #IPS2016
  10. GoogleTrimming the Waste-Line: Weaving Circular Economy Principles Into Our Operations
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeDon't Miss the Mega Conference to Master Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. ACCAKaras Report on Access to Finance for SMEs in a Capital Markets Union