Plans to hold a referendum in Denmark on the Constitution Treaty were scrapped in 2005, after the Dutch and Irish ‘No’ votes, and in 2007 the Danish government decided that a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty (the reformed Constitution Treaty) wasn’t needed as there was no transfer of sovereignty. However, yesterday, the Danish Supreme Court unanimously decided that a group of Danish citizens can sue the Danish Prime Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, for breaching the Danish constitution by ratifying the Lisbon Treaty without a referendum.As it happens, there is an error in that account. It was, as most of us recall, France and not Ireland, who voted No to the Constitutional Treaty in 2005 as well as Netherlands. Ireland voted No to the Lisbon Treaty in 2008 and was forced to vote again in 2009. One wonders whether they think that panicky Yes in the second referendum was worth it.
The leader of the plaintiffs, professor Ole Krarup, has spoken of his hope that the case will find the treaty has not been ratified in the requisite manner, thus the treaty is non–binding. He believes that, if the Court finds in their favour, there could still be a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.
The horror stories and threats have already begun:
The daily Berlingske Tidende criticises the EU opponents:It would appear that all those islands outside the EU, Switzerland, Norway and, more recently, Iceland are not doing too badly.
“If it were up to them … Denmark would go on being a small, idyllic country with no other contact with the external world than our agricultural exports. We would have no other binding cooperation apart from the loose sort of trade relations Europe had almost 40 years ago. Luckily the EU has developed since then, and since 2000 we’ve had no less than six referendums, in four of which the Danes voted in favour of closer cooperation.
… Hopefully the judgement will come down in favour of the Treaty of Lisbon. If it doesn’t, we’ll go right back to the days of the Maastricht Treaty and the eternal discussion of whether we can live on an isolated island outside the EU.”