Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said after the vote, “I don’t consider this as a step back. The Danes have refused to take a step forward…The reasons why Danes refused to choose what we proposed is probably that there’s this feeling of uncertainty given the fact that Europe is right now faced with other major problems which we haven’t really solved.”Or, in other words, we lost dammit. Now what do we do? The Danes might not like another referendum.
At issue was Denmark's joining fully the EU's justice and home affairs policies. This is how the Danes voted:
The referendum resulted in a large majority - 53.1 percent No, against 46.9 percent Yes - refusing to join EU justice and home affairs policies. Denmark opted out from this part of EU policy when ratifying the Maastricht treaty 22 years ago.There is muttering to be heard in various places that this might show the EU that Britain is not the only country that is dissatisfied with the ever closer union and that, in turn, will spur the Eurocrats to being amenable to reforms, particularly as it has now become officially known (as opposed to worked out by all of us who have bothered to think) that the notion of some kind of a deal at the December European Council is moonshine.
"People wanted to stay in control, and I have great respect for this,” said Liberal prime minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen.
Loekke Rasmussen phoned EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Council president Donald Tusk on Thursday evening and plans to start talks in Brussels on 11 December to secure a parallel deal regarding future Danish participation in Europol, the EU’s joint police body.
Loekke Rasmussen also invited all political parties in the Danish parliament for one-to-one talks on Monday, in order to digest the referendum result and formulate a new Europe policy.
"I have already indicated my support for [UK prime minister] Cameron and his talks ahead of a British referendum to secure continued membership of the EU. We have a strong ally in Great Britain to reform the EU," the Danish PM said.
British and EU leaders will try to reach a deal on British demands for reforms at February's EU summit, while using the upcoming summit on 17 December for political guidance.OK, neither of them is a summit but let us not quibble. Or not too much.
"Debate" at the December meeting "should pave the way for a deal in February," European Council president Donald Tusk said on Twitter on Thursday (3 December).
Tusk announced he will send a letter to EU leaders on Monday (7 December) to give his assessment on the ongoing talks.
In a phone call with Germany's Angela Merkel on Thursday, UK prime minister David Cameron admitted that "the scale of what we are asking for means we will not resolve this in one go.”
Cameron "did not expect to get agreement at the December European Council," his office said after the call.
In other related news, a YouGov_De poll has given an unsatisfactory result to the Europhiles: 37% support return to the Deutschmark while 45% want to continue in the euro. Yes, they are still in a majority but it is not exactly overwhelming.
And so we come to UKIP and its performance in the Oldham by-election yesterday. Unfortunately, I have to leave that till another posting partly because I need to vacate this spot but also because I have a certain amount to say on the subject of that result.