Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Odd developments in Denmark

There are calls for a referendum in Denmark to be timed at the same time as next year's European elections. The calls or, to be quite precise, one call, comes from the eader of the Liberal party and former Danish prime minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, as reported by EUObserver and The Copenhagen Post.

Mr Rasmussen wants a referendum to reverse all but one of the opt-outs Denmark was grudgingly given when the country was told to vote again over the Maastricht Treaty in 1992.
Venstre party head and former prime minister Lars L√łkke Rasmussen (V) said today that Denmark should remove the opt-outs on EU defence and justice co-operation that were introduced when Denmark signed the Maastricht Treaty that created the European Union in 1992. The third reservation on becoming part of the euro common currency would remain in place.
There are, however, complications. The present government had intended to call a referendum on the opt-outs but decided against it as the Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt (in private life Mrs Stephen Kinnock though they seem to spend very little time together) thought there were too many tensions and uncertainties within the EU. Or, in other words, the people of Denmark might once again vote the wrong way.

That problem has not gone away.
But despite a large backing in the parliament to remove some of the EU opt-outs, people may vote differently.

A survey by the Danish Greens Analyseinstitut earlier this year showed there is still a large majority (62%) against the euro and that a just 39 percent wants Denmark to join EU justice policies.

The defence opt-out is the exception, with 55 percent happy to scrap the measure.
Even that is not exactly a huge majority, given the usual propensity of referendums to tend towards the status quo.

So what is Mr Rasmussen playing at? Does he think popular opinion will magically change by next May? Or is he being Machiavellian: calling for a referendum that will go in favour of keeping the opt-outs?


  1. I think they should forced to have that referendum, and the candidates explaining how they will be voting in it...

  2. I suspect Mrs Kinnock (nee Thorning-Schmidt) & Mr Kinnock spend less than 183 days together. It seems tax laws affect even love! Mind you, I wonder what she talks about when she visits the in-laws?
    - WC Bard