Denmark and the European Union

Denmark in the European Union relations


European Union

Denmark in the European Union refers to the historical and current issues of Denmark's membership in the European Union. Denmark has a permanent representation to the European Union led by ambassador Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen, in Brussels.[1][2] The current Foreign Minister and Minister for European Affairs is Venstre politician Kristian Jensen.[3]

The main economic reason that Denmark joined the EEC was because it wanted to safeguard its agricultural exports to the United Kingdom.[4]


Denmark formally applied to join the predecessor of the EU, the European Economic Community on 10 August 1961, a day after the British applied.[5] But the then French president Charles de Gaulle vetoed British membership and Denmark did not wish to join the EEC without the United Kingdom.[6] After much negotiation, and following a change in the French Presidency, Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom eventually joined the European Communities on 1 January 1973. Denmark and Ireland were so economically linked to the UK, that they considered it necessary to join the EEC if the UK did.[7] The Danish population voted for membership with 63.3% in favour with a turnout of 90.1%.[8] This was the first of several enlargements which become a major policy area of the Union.[9] In 1982, Greenland voted to leave the Community after gaining home rule from Denmark.[10]

The EC became accepted and appreciated in Denmark and in 1986, an overwhelming majority of the Danish population supported the Single European Act.[4]

Danes spurred political awareness of euroscepticism and have enjoyed a reputation as "reluctant" Europeans. In Denmark, the first Danish Maastricht Treaty referendum was held on 2 June 1992 but a shortfall of fewer than 50,000 votes resulted in the treaty not being ratified.´[11][12] After the failure, alterations were made to the treaty through the addition of the Edinburgh Agreement which lists four Danish exceptions. The treaty was eventually ratified the following year on 18 May 1993 after a second referendum was held in Denmark.[13]

The Lisbon treaty was ratified by the Danish parliament alone.[14] It was not considered a surrendering of national sovereignty, which would have implied the holding of a referendum according to article 20 of the constitution.[15] Currently, the Danish government wants a referendum on the opt-outs from the EU-treaty, but the prospect of the opt-outs perhaps being rejected does not look appealing. The issue is being postponed for the time being, or until a large coalition of political parties support holding a referendum.[16][note 1]

In October 2012, Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt demanded a 1 billion kroner rebate in the Budget of the European Union, otherwise she would veto against the budget.[17] In February 2013, Denmark and the European Union reached an agreement on a seven-year budget, to approve Danish demand.[18]

On 25 May 2014, the Danish Unified Patent Court membership referendum was approved with 62.5% of the vote, enabling the government to proceed with the ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court, which constitutes the legal basis for the Unified Patent Court.[19][20]


Two political parties in the Danish parliament call themselves for eurosceptic. The Danish People's Party[21] and the Red-Green Alliance.[22] Over the years, many anti-EU organisations have been established in Denmark, for example People's Movement against the EU and the June Movement.

In July 2011, Denmark reinforced its borders with Germany by stationing more officers in an effort to halt the flow of illegal goods. The action has angered both Germany and Sweden.[23] Minister of Europe Joerg-Uwe Hahn in the state of Hesse called for a boycott of Denmark by tourists. He said "If Denmark is introducing border controls again during the holiday season, I can only suggest that people turn right around and holiday in Austria or Poland instead."[24] The European Commission warned Denmark not to breach the Schengen Treaty.[25]


Main article: Denmark and the euro

Denmark uses the krone as its currency and does not use the euro, having negotiated an opt-out from participation under the Edinburgh Agreement in 1992. In 2000, the government held a referendum on introducing the euro, which was defeated with 46.8% voting yes and 53.2% voting no. The Danish krone is part of the ERM-II mechanism, so its exchange rate is tied to within 2.25% of the euro.

Most of the large political parties in Denmark favour the introduction of the euro and the idea of a second referendum has been suggested several times since 2000. However, some important parties such as the Danish People's Party and Socialist People's Party do not currently support a referendum. Public opinion surveys have shown fluctuating support for the single currency with majorities in favour for some years after the physical introduction of the currency. However, following the financial crisis of 2008, support began to fall, and in late 2011, support for the euro crashed in light of the escalating European sovereign debt crisis.[26]

See also

External links


  1. "Permanent Representation of Denmark to the European Union". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  2. "Ambassadør Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen". (in Danish). Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  3. "Folketinget: Kristian Jensen (S)". (in Danish). Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  4. 1 2 "Danish and British Popular Euroscepticism Compared: A Sceptical Assessment of the Concept" (PDF). Danish Institute for International Studies. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  5. "How the EU works, History, 1960–1969". Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  6. "Denmark & EU". Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  7. Bache, Ian and Stephen George (2006) Politics in the European Union, Oxford University Press. p540–542
  8. Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p524 & 534 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  9. "The first enlargement". Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  10. "Negotiations for enlargement". Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  11. Havemann, Joel (4 June 1992). "EC Leaders at Sea Over Danish Rejection : Europe: Vote against Maastricht Treaty blocks the march to unity. Expansion plans may also be in jeopardy.". LA Times. Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  12. "Maastricht-traktaten & Edinburgh-afgørelsen 18. maj 1993" (in Danish). Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  13. "". BBC. 30 April 2001. Retrieved 7 December 2011. External link in |title= (help)
  14. "Denmark and the Treaty of Lisbon". Folketinget. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  15. "No Danish vote on Lisbon Treaty". BBC. BBC News. 11 December 2007. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  16. "Denmark to review opt-outs". European Voice. 30 October 2009. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  17. "Thorning truer EU: Veto hvis ikke Danmark får milliard-rabat". DR (in Danish). 25 October 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  18. "Denmark secures billion kroner EU rebate". Copenhagen Post. 8 February 2013. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  19. "MINISTRY: EU patent court may require referendum". Politiken. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2013.
  20. "Pressemøde den 7. maj 2013". Government of Denmark (in Danish). 7 May 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  21. "EU-politik". (in Danish). Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  22. "EU-politik". (in Danish). Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  23. "Neighbours: move toward border controls a "scandal"". Copenhagen Post. 12 May 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  24. "Denmark steps up customs checks at borders". Reuters. 5 July 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  25. "EU Slams Denmark over Plans to Reintroduce Border Checks". Der Spiegel. 12 May 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  26. "Danskerne siger nej tak til euroen". (in Danish). 27 September 2011. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
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