The government did not violate the constitution when it signed the Lisbon Treaty in 2007 without first holding a referendum, five judges in the Eastern High Court found on Friday.
The verdict was made in a class action lawsuit launched by 34 individuals against the former Liberal-Conservative government. They argue that the Lisbon Treaty handed sovereignty on a range of issues affecting Denmark to the EU, and so would require a referendum because it was not passed by a five-sevenths super majority in parliament.
The Lisbon Treaty was ratified by parliament in 2008 and came into effect on 1 December 2009. It created the role of president of the European Council, currently Herman van Rompuy, and also strengthened the powers of the European Parliament.
After the verdict, the lawyer representing the 34 individuals, Ole Krarup, a former MEP for the anti-EU party Folkebevægelsen mod EU, said he was disappointed by the verdict but that it was expected.
“This shows that the courts don’t dare to contradict the government,” Krarup said.
Both the prime miniter, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and the foreign minister, Villy Søvndal – who were members of the opposition at the time the treaty was signed and ratified – said they were pleased with the verdict.
“We have noted the Eastern High Court’s verdict with satisfaction, which states that parliament did not violate any laws when it implemented legislation regarding Denmark’s accession to the treaty,” the two ministers stated in a press release.
Krarup said the decision would be appealed to the Supreme Court.