Non Eurozone EU member state supports Greek financial package

In Den­mark, the finan­cial pack­age for Greece was gen­er­al­ly per­ceived to be a pos­i­tive act: in the government’s view, it was nec­es­sary to help Greece. Greece’s poten­tial with­draw­al from the Euro is per­ceived as an exis­ten­tial threat to the Euro itself. The “Greek tragedy” is seen as a prod­uct of decades of neglect, cor­rup­tion and unwill­ing­ness to reform the econ­o­my.11Berlingske Tidende: Den græske tragedie ver­sion 2.0, 9 Feb­ru­ary 2010. Accord­ing to the finan­cial news­pa­per Børsen, Den­mark faces small prob­lems com­pared to oth­er Euro­pean mem­ber states such as Greece and Spain. For­eign Min­is­ter Lene Espersen under­scored Denmark’s strong inter­na­tion­al posi­tion, but at the same time point­ed to the need for a stronger Europe. She called for a mod­erni­sa­tion of the sin­gle mar­ket and the cre­ation of new e‑trade solu­tions requir­ing strong coor­di­na­tion on both the EU and nation­al lev­els.22Berlingske Tidende: I front for dan­sk vækst, 15 April 2010; Erhvervs­bladet: Det han­dler om, hvad Dan­mark skal leve af i fremti­den, 19 March 2010; Børsen: Nød­vendig hjælp til Græken­land, 13 April 2010.

The Greek cri­sis trig­gered a debate about Denmark’s posi­tion as a non-Euro coun­try, giv­ing rise to argu­ments from the gov­ern­ing par­ties that Den­mark, for the time being, should keep its opt-out regard­ing the Eco­nom­ic and Mon­e­tary Union. EU Com­mis­sion­er for Cli­mate Action Con­nie Hede­gaard, how­ev­er, high­light­ed the pos­si­bil­i­ty that the eco­nom­ic and finan­cial cri­sis might result in a divid­ed Europe with the Euro coun­tries and the non-Euro coun­tries mov­ing at two dif­fer­ent eco­nom­ic speeds. Den­mark, as a non-Euro coun­try, thus might risk being left out of future dis­cus­sions about Euro­pean finan­cial and eco­nom­ic reg­u­la­tion.33Poli­tiken: Con­nie Hede­gaard advar­er: Nu kør­er euro­to­get, 10 May 2010, avail­able at: http://politiken.dk/politik/article967472.ece (last access: 17 May 2010).

Priorities for the Europe 2020 Strategy

The gov­ern­ment held a pos­i­tive view towards the Europe 2020 Strat­e­gy. Prime Min­is­ter Lars Løkke Ras­mussen stressed the need to focus on a dif­fer­ent kind of cri­sis man­age­ment by phas­ing out nation­al aid pack­ages and avoid­ing state aid.44Statsmin­is­teri­et: Statsmin­is­ter Lars Løkke Ras­mussens tale på VL-Døgn 2010, 9 Feb­ru­ary 2010. Also EU Com­mis­sion­er for Cli­mate Action Con­nie Hede­gaard and the Dan­ish Cham­ber of Com­merce voiced their opti­mism towards the Strat­e­gy.55Kris­teligt Dag­blad: EU-væk­st­plan skal reduc­ere antallet af fat­tige, 4 March 2010; Dan­sk Erhverv: Ny EU-strate­gi skal bringe os ud af krisen, 11 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.danskerhverv.dk/Nyheder/Sider/Ny-EU-strategi-skal-bringe-os-ud-af-krisen.aspx (last access: 1 April 2010).

The finan­cial and eco­nom­ic cri­sis was seen as a spe­cial chance to change the posi­tion of Europe glob­al­ly through the cre­ation of Euro­pean eco­nom­ic growth. Reform, inno­va­tion and research were often men­tioned as key com­po­nents on which the Europe 2020 Strat­e­gy should focus. They were per­ceived as nec­es­sary to secure the future suc­cess of Europe as well as its influ­ence on the glob­al are­na. Both the leader of the oppo­si­tion par­ty the Dan­ish Social-Lib­er­al Par­ty, Mar­grethe Vestager, and the Dan­ish Con­sumer Coun­cil high­light­ed the need for reform as an impor­tant tool to cre­ate eco­nom­ic growth as well as a greater focus on research and inno­va­tion in Europe.66Poli­tiken: EU’s ledere skal også mul­ti­taske, 26 March 2010, avail­able at: http://blog.politiken.dk/vestager/2010/03/26/eus-ledere-skal-ogsa-multitaske/ (last access: 18 May 2010). Sofie Carsten Nielsen and Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment (MP) Lone Dybkjær of the Dan­ish Social-Lib­er­al Par­ty called for a greater role for the Com­mis­sion and said the Europe 2020 Strat­e­gy should be linked more close­ly to the EU bud­get to cre­ate a car­rot-and-stick mech­a­nism. Among the oppo­si­tion par­ties, the debate was thus focused on expand­ed eco­nom­ic con­trol and reform as the Euro­pean way for­ward. Four Mem­bers of Euro­pean Par­lia­ment (MEPs) rep­re­sent­ing the Social Democ­rats, the Social­ist People’s Par­ty, the Con­ser­v­a­tives, and Ven­stre, in line with Jes­per Jes­persen of the Roskilde Uni­ver­si­ty sup­port­ed the idea of a Euro­pean Mon­e­tary Fund. Hans Skov Chris­tensen, head of the Con­fed­er­a­tion of Dan­ish Indus­try (Dan­sk Indus­tri – DI) con­ceived the cri­sis as a seri­ous threat to Europe’s role in the world econ­o­my and to Den­mark as a coun­try. He said the Euro­pean Coun­cil would have to send a clear mes­sage to the Com­mis­sion that it has to con­tin­ue pro­mot­ing reforms.77Børsen: EU: Hans Skov Chris­tensen: Det er sid­ste udkald for Europa, 26 March 2010. DI gen­er­al­ly expressed its con­cern with prob­lems exist­ing with­in the EU, which chal­lenge Europe’s role in the world econ­o­my. DI thus put the increase of Euro­pean pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, ini­tia­tives to cre­ate growth and enhance com­pet­i­tive­ness, and labour mar­ket reforms to match the demo­graph­ic devel­op­ment as top pri­or­i­ties for the future EU strat­e­gy.88Dan­sk Indus­tri: Europa skal have fokus på konkur­renceevne og reformer, 26 March 2010; DI Ind­sigt: Europa taber ter­ræn til USA og Kina, 30 March 2010. Fur­ther­more, MEP Dan Jør­gensen com­ment­ed that the Europe 2020 Strat­e­gy lacks a focus on unem­ploy­ment, cli­mate change, and the oppor­tu­ni­ty to cre­ate green jobs.99Altinget.dk: Dan J.: Fork­ert fokus i 2020-strate­gi, 31 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.altinget.dk/artikel.aspx?id=112482 (last access: 1 May 2010). The finan­cial news­pa­per Børsen also voiced its cri­tique of the EU’s finan­cial pol­i­cy say­ing that the EU is not well enough coor­di­nat­ed when it comes to eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy. Thus, the stronger economies in Europe are not oblig­ed to secure growth in the EU by con­duct­ing expan­sive finan­cial poli­cies.1010Børsen: Nød­vendig hjælp til Græken­land, 13 April 2010.

    Footnotes

  • 1Berlingske Tidende: Den græske tragedie ver­sion 2.0, 9 Feb­ru­ary 2010.
  • 2Berlingske Tidende: I front for dan­sk vækst, 15 April 2010; Erhvervs­bladet: Det han­dler om, hvad Dan­mark skal leve af i fremti­den, 19 March 2010; Børsen: Nød­vendig hjælp til Græken­land, 13 April 2010.
  • 3Poli­tiken: Con­nie Hede­gaard advar­er: Nu kør­er euro­to­get, 10 May 2010, avail­able at: http://politiken.dk/politik/article967472.ece (last access: 17 May 2010).
  • 4Statsmin­is­teri­et: Statsmin­is­ter Lars Løkke Ras­mussens tale på VL-Døgn 2010, 9 Feb­ru­ary 2010.
  • 5Kris­teligt Dag­blad: EU-væk­st­plan skal reduc­ere antallet af fat­tige, 4 March 2010; Dan­sk Erhverv: Ny EU-strate­gi skal bringe os ud af krisen, 11 Decem­ber 2009, avail­able at: http://www.danskerhverv.dk/Nyheder/Sider/Ny-EU-strategi-skal-bringe-os-ud-af-krisen.aspx (last access: 1 April 2010).
  • 6Poli­tiken: EU’s ledere skal også mul­ti­taske, 26 March 2010, avail­able at: http://blog.politiken.dk/vestager/2010/03/26/eus-ledere-skal-ogsa-multitaske/ (last access: 18 May 2010).
  • 7Børsen: EU: Hans Skov Chris­tensen: Det er sid­ste udkald for Europa, 26 March 2010.
  • 8Dan­sk Indus­tri: Europa skal have fokus på konkur­renceevne og reformer, 26 March 2010; DI Ind­sigt: Europa taber ter­ræn til USA og Kina, 30 March 2010.
  • 9Altinget.dk: Dan J.: Fork­ert fokus i 2020-strate­gi, 31 March 2010, avail­able at: http://www.altinget.dk/artikel.aspx?id=112482 (last access: 1 May 2010).
  • 10Børsen: Nød­vendig hjælp til Græken­land, 13 April 2010.

The reports focus on a report­ing peri­od from Decem­ber 2009 until May 2010. This sur­vey was con­duct­ed on the basis of a ques­tion­naire that has been elab­o­rat­ed in March and April 2010. Most of the 31 reports were deliv­ered in May 2010.

The EU-27 Watch No. 9 receives sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Otto Wolff-Foun­da­tion, Cologne, in the frame­work of the ‘Dia­log Europa der Otto Wolff-Stiftung’, and finan­cial sup­port from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is not respon­si­ble for any use that may be made of the infor­ma­tion con­tained therein.