Thursday

22nd Oct 2020

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).

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

  • 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.

Investigation

Violating promises and law, von der Leyen tests patience

Under EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, transparency was supposed to be a "guiding principle". Instead, the European Commission is asking Kafkaesque questions in response to an access to documents request, and failing to meet its legal deadline.

Future of Europe: EU Council urged to propose a chair

Since the German presidency promised the Conference on the Future of Europe would start under their leadership, the European Commission and MEPs hope the event will be launched soon. But there is one issue: who will chair the conference?

Nine-in-ten EU regions face revenue plunge, report finds

The decrease of revenues in 2020 of subnational authorities in France, Germany and Italy alone is estimated to be €30bn for the three countries, a new report by the European Committee of the Regions says.

EU Parliament sticks to demands in budget tussle

The parliament wants €38.5bn extra for key programmes, which is less than their previous request of around €100bn. Negotiations continue on Thursday, but the budget and recovery could still get stuck on the rule-of-law issue.

Rightwing MEPs bend to Saudi will after Khashoggi death

Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed two years ago on 2 October. Since then, mainly centre-right, conservative and far-right MEPs have voted down any moves to restrict, limit or ban the sales of weapons to the Saudi regime.

MEPs deliver blow to EU body embroiled in harassment case

MEPs have refused to sign off the accounts of the European Economic and Social Committee, in yet another blow to the reputation of the EU's smallest institution. The massive vote against was linked to ongoing psychological harassment cases.

News in Brief

  1. Commission to press Croatia on migrant 'abuse' at border
  2. Belarus opposition awarded 2020 Sakharov Prize
  3. Belgium's foreign minister in intensive care for Covid-19
  4. MEPs restrict CAP funding for bullfighting
  5. Coronavirus: Liège is 'the Lombardy of the second wave'
  6. UK to keep out EU nationals with criminal past
  7. Report: EU to restrict travel from Canada, Tunisia, Georgia
  8. Pope Francis supports same-sex civil unions

Rightwing MEPs bend to Saudi will after Khashoggi death

Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed two years ago on 2 October. Since then, mainly centre-right, conservative and far-right MEPs have voted down any moves to restrict, limit or ban the sales of weapons to the Saudi regime.

EU parliament vows not to cave in to budget pressure

The parliament's majorty dismisses the German EU presidency's proposal on the rule of law conditionality, which has emerged as the main political obstacle to agree on the next long-term EU budget.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. Nato and EU silent on Turkey, despite Armenia's appeal
  2. EU tells UK to decide on Brexit as deal 'within reach'
  3. EU farming deal attacked by Green groups
  4. France vows tough retaliation for teacher's murder
  5. All eyes on EU court for decision on religious slaughter
  6. 'Big majority' of citizens want EU funds linked to rule of law
  7. EU declares war on Malta and Cyprus passport sales
  8. EU Commission's Libya stance undercut by internal report

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us