Tuesday

30th Aug 2016

Denmark eyeing referendum on euro

  • Denmark may hold the referendum before June (Photo: Johannes Jansson/norden.org)

The EU's economic convergence plans are forcing Denmark to reconsider its euro opt-out, with a referendum on "modernising" Copenhagen's relation with Brussels possibly taking place by June.

With plans for a "Competitiveness Pact" currently being drafted by EU institutions to replace a Franco-German draft on pensions harmonisation and constitutional "debt brakes", Denmark does not want to be left out of the decision-making process, due to not being in the single currency.

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.

After meeting a group of MEPs on Wednesday, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said his countrymen should reconsider the opt-outs in a referendum, especially since Denmark will take over the EU's rotating presidency on 1 January 2012.

"There are both the euro pact and the presidency, issues which make it relevant to consider whether we should modernise our relations with the EU," he was quoted as saying by Politiken daily newspaper.

The referendum may take place before the summer in order to give Mr Rasmussen a clear popular mandate when he participates in a June summit where EU leaders are set to decide on the competitiveness pact.

"It depends on what the pact will consist of exactly, but clarity [in a referendum] may be needed," he said, while stressing that he has no intention of trying to "sneak" Denmark into the euro.

"Currently, there is a no to the euro that is in place and that limits the degree to which we can be part of eurozone co-operation," the premier explained.

Danes rejected adopting the euro in a referendum held in 2000.

But this time around, poll figures indicate a slight majority in favour of scrapping all three Danish opt-outs (the euro, EU defence policy and justice and home affairs).

Dubbed the "Big Bang model", a referendum on all three opt-outs may be more successful than holding a referendum just on euro adoption, with 45 percent of Danes in favour of this move, according to a Megafon poll carried out in February. But the margin is still narrow, with 43 percent opposing it and 12 percent undecided.

A strong advocate for Denmark's euro-accession is Belgian Liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt, who points to the fact that the country's economy is already fully integrated into the eurozone and that the Danish krone is pegged to the euro.

In addition, he believes that there is a need for a small country like Denmark to counter-balance Germany and France who "dictated" the competitiveness pact being currently drafted for the 17 member-strong eurozone.

Scrapping the EU opt-outs could also serve the Liberal premier ahead of general elections in the autumn as both opposition parties are internally split on the issue.

But some Danish politicians warn against holding a referendum. They point to Mr Rasmussen's low popularity suggesting voters may use the opportunity to sanction the government.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EuridThe 2016 .eu Web Awards is a Chance to Make Dreams Come True so Vote Today !
  2. Nordic CouncilNordic-Baltic Co-operation Vital in Turbulent Times
  3. GoogleBrussels: Home of Beer, Fries, Chocolate and Google’s Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  4. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students to China for ICT Training
  5. EFASpain is Not a Democratic State. EFA Expresses Solidarity to A. Otegi and EH Bildu
  6. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  7. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  8. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  9. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Applies Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  10. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  11. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  12. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER