A slim majority, some 53 percent of Danish voters, have today said ‘no’ to ending the country’s EU justice opt-out and being part of the European cross-border police collaboration.
The referendum vote will be seen as a victory for Dansk Folkeparti, Enhedslisten and Liberal Alliance, who all encouraged Danes to keep the country’s legal reservations.
As a result, Denmark will have to leave the European police co-operation, Europol, which the country has been a member of for 17 years.
Venstre, the party of Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, along with Socialdemokraterne, SF, Radikale and Konservative had all supported a ‘yes’ vote.
Some 72 percent of eligible voters participated in the referendum, surprising analysts who did not expect such a high turnout.
“Nothing splits the Danish electorate more than EU issues,” Hans Engell, a political commentator, told TV2.
Some 60 percent of the voters showed up at the poll booths in the final two hours before the ballot closed.
Several governments, including Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s, considered abolishing the opt-outs, which date back to the Danish referendum on the Maastricht Treaty in 1992.
According to the DR correspondent in Brussels, most other EU countries were not particularly interested in the result of the Danish referendum because the result does not affect them.