The Danish opt-outs

As a result of the Treaty of Lis­bon enter­ing into force, the Dan­ish opt-outs were brought up. The opt-out regard­ing jus­tice and home affairs and the opt-out regard­ing com­mon defence were espe­cial­ly debat­ed. Accord­ing to these two opt-outs, Den­mark only par­tic­i­pates in EU judi­cial coop­er­a­tion at an inter­gov­ern­men­tal lev­el and does not par­tic­i­pate in the elab­o­ra­tion and imple­men­ta­tion of deci­sions and actions which have defence impli­ca­tions.11Folketingets EU-oplysning: The Dan­ish Opt-Outs, avail­able at: http://www.euo.dk/emner_en/forbehold/ (last access: 20 April 2010). All four opt-outs were main­tained in the Treaty of Lis­bon and thus Den­mark was pre­clud­ed from Europol coop­er­a­tion, includ­ing the com­bat­ing of inter­na­tion­al crime and ter­ror­ism. Fur­ther­more, the opt-out regard­ing com­mon defence meant that Den­mark was unable to par­tic­i­pate in the com­bat­ing of pira­cy off the coast of Soma­lia – an issue which has been of great con­cern to the Dan­ish ship­ping indus­try.22Ibid; Jyl­lands-Posten: Hvad ven­ter du på, Lars Løkke?, 19 April 2010.

The EU debate in Den­mark focused main­ly on the four Dan­ish opt-outs and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of an upcom­ing ref­er­en­dum. It was espe­cial­ly dis­cussed how such a ref­er­en­dum ought to go about. The gov­ern­ment par­ties have on a num­ber of occa­sions argued that all four opt-outs should be vot­ed on togeth­er as a full pack­age so as to make it a final deci­sion whether to become a full mem­ber of the EU.

The gov­ern­ment party’s spokesper­son on the EU, Michael Aas­trup Jensen, said the next ref­er­en­dum on the Euro could be the last chance for Den­mark to become a mem­ber of the Euro. There­fore, the Dan­ish gov­ern­ment should be care­ful while decid­ing on a ref­er­en­dum, since the Dan­ish posi­tion might be drawn in a neg­a­tive direc­tion by the Greek eco­nom­ic cri­sis.33Børsen: Græsk krise skub­ber dan­sk euro-afstemn­ing, 8 Feb­ru­ary 2010. MEP Morten Messer­schmidt stressed that Den­mark must have the free­dom to choose whether it wants to be a mem­ber of the Euro or not.

The oppo­si­tion, on the oth­er hand, argued that the opt-outs should be vot­ed on sep­a­rate­ly. Accord­ing to them, a full pack­age ref­er­en­dum would only pro­tract the process of giv­ing up the opt-outs. The Dan­ish Euro­pean Move­ment wel­comed the idea of a Dan­ish ref­er­en­dum, stat­ing that the opt-out regard­ing com­mon defence was regard­ed as detri­men­tal to Dan­ish inter­ests eco­nom­i­cal­ly, polit­i­cal­ly, and cul­tur­al­ly.44Jyl­lands-Posten: Hvad ven­ter du på, Lars Løkke?, 19 April 2010. The ref­er­en­dum would be the way to find out whether Den­mark is now final­ly will­ing to become a full mem­ber of the EU.55Kris­teligt Dag­blad: Afskaf EU-for­be­hold, 10 March 2010. They point­ed out the Social­ist People’s Par­ty as the sin­gle most impor­tant fac­tor pre­vent­ing a ref­er­en­dum from becom­ing a real­i­ty.66Infor­ma­tion: Sig nu ja, SF, 21 April 2010.

    Footnotes

  • 1Folketingets EU-oplysning: The Dan­ish Opt-Outs, avail­able at: http://www.euo.dk/emner_en/forbehold/ (last access: 20 April 2010).
  • 2Ibid; Jyl­lands-Posten: Hvad ven­ter du på, Lars Løkke?, 19 April 2010.
  • 3Børsen: Græsk krise skub­ber dan­sk euro-afstemn­ing, 8 Feb­ru­ary 2010.
  • 4Jyl­lands-Posten: Hvad ven­ter du på, Lars Løkke?, 19 April 2010.
  • 5Kris­teligt Dag­blad: Afskaf EU-for­be­hold, 10 March 2010.
  • 6Infor­ma­tion: Sig nu ja, SF, 21 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.