It's official: Danes to vote on EU patent court
With Enhedslisten and Dansk Folkeparti refusing to budge, the people will decide
After a final attempt to woo Enhedslisten (EL) and Dansk Folkeparti (DF) failed, Denmark's participation in an EU patent court will now go to a referendum in May.
While EL and DF are polar opposites on most issues, the parties share a Euroscepticism that prevented them from supporting the government's plan to join the patent court. Joining the EU patent court would result in Denmark losing sovereignty to the EU and would therefore need a five sixths ‘super majority’ in parliament to avoid a referendum. But with DF and EL refusing to budge in a final meeting with the business minister, Henrik Sass Larsen (S), yesterday, the government has officially conceded that it will not be able to secure the necessary super majority.
"I must unfortunately report that Dansk Folkeparti and Enhedslisten do not wish to vote in favour of the proposal," Larsen said in a press release. "I had hoped that we would find a solution in parliament, but with the feedback we received it will not be possible to obtain a five sixths majority as the constitution requires."
Denmark's participation in the EU patent court will now be an official referendum in conjunction with the May 25 election for the European Parliament.
Proponents of joining the patent court, which include industry lobby Dansk Industri, argue that it would make it easier for Danish individuals and businesses to both obtain and enforce patents that would cover the entire EU.
DF had previously tried to barter its support of the patent court in exchange for the government taking a harder stance against what the party has dubbed 'welfare tourism', but PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt refused to give the far-right party concessions and said back in October that she was prepared to let the patent court issue be settled via referendum.