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All you need to know about the Danish opt-out referendum


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All you need to know about the Danish opt-out referendum

On December 3, 2015 Denmark holds a referendum on its relationship with the European Union.

What is at stake

Giving up Denmark’s exemptions from the EU’s justice and home affairs policies but keeping full authority over its asylum and immigration policies

Country Info: Denmark

Capital: Copenhagen

Area: 42.915 km2

Population: 5.699.000

Form of Government: constitutional monarchy

Monarch: Margrethe II

Prime Minister: Lars Løkke Rasmussen

The road to the 2015 referendum

  • In a 1992 referendum the Danes rejected the Maastricht Treaty, which created European integration and the use of the single currency, the euro
  • to save the treaty, Denmark was offered opt-outs. These preserved Danish sovereignty in areas such as the euro, home and justice affairs
  • with these amendments in place the treaty was approved by a referendum in 1993. As a result of the treaty’s rules Denmark could not take part in European Council votes concerning areas including cooperation against global terrorism and crime. This issue gained more significance after the shooting in Copenhagen in February.
  • The Danish parliament voted to call a referendum about abandoning the old treaty and Denmark’s isolation. A vote in favour would mean adopting almost two dozen EU initiatives but rejecting 10 others including asylum and immigration

History of EU referendums in Denmark

  • this is the eighth EU referendum voted for European Economic Community membership back in 1972
  • the seven previous results: five times “yes”, two times “no”
  • in a 2000 referendum the country rejected the introduction of euro

The forecast

  • results are hard to predict as during the campaign the worsening refugee crisis in Europe and the Paris terror attacks could have impact over Danish voters’ mood
  • younger voters could tip the balance as they are more likely to say NO to scrapping the old treaty

The YES and the NO side

Consequences

  • The vote could influence the 2017 British referendum on whether to remain in or exit the EU

Every story can be told in many ways: see the perspectives from Euronews journalists in our other language teams.

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