No referendum on joining EU fiscal union

Despite the opposition of three political parties, the Justice Ministry finds that the fiscal compact treaty does not affect Danish sovereignty and therefore does not require a referendum

February 23rd, 2012 2:35 pm| by admin

A referendum will not be necessary for Denmark to sign the EU fiscal compact treaty after the Justice Ministry found that the treaty neither impinges on Danish sovereignty nor violates the constitution.

The finding means that Denmark is free to sign the treaty next week along with all other EU member states except the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic, who both pulled out in January.

The treaty is designed to ensure tightened fiscal discipline in European member states in order to avert a future debt crisis similar to the one currently afflicting Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland.

But three of the nation's political parties – Enhedslisten (EL), Liberal Alliance (LA) and Dansk Folkeparti (DF) – still believe that a referendum is needed before Denmark signs up to the treaty.

Kristian Thulesen Dahl from DF told Ritzau news agency that he was not surprised by the Justice Ministry’s findings.

“The conclusion was predetermined," he said. "We are looking forward to hearing the opinions of lawyers from outside the Justice Ministry on this important question.”

After politicians from LA and EL echoed Dahl’s statement, the minister for European affairs, Nicolai Wammen, took offence at the suggestion that ministry officials were not impartial in their evaluation of the treaty.

“I would warn against accusing officials of putting aside their objectivity and professionalism simply because their conclusions do not fit one's political viewpoints,” Wammen told Politiken newspaper, adding that the Justice Ministry was simply instructed to do its job and assess the legal implications of the treaty, not find a way to make it support the government line.

Government support party EL argues that the treaty will affect Danish sovereignty, however, by preventing future Danish governments from using budget deficits to stimulate the economy, similar to the current government’s ‘kickstart’ plan.

“We think it’s completely wrong to take away the opportunity of future governments to adjust their economic politics from election to election,” Nikolaj Vollumsen, EL's EU spokesperson told Politiken. "I think the Justice Ministry’s position is simply a legal dodge to avoid having a referendum.”

The new financial regulations outlined in the treaty, which must be passed in each member state as a law, mean that countries will have to meet strict limits on debt and budget deficit levels or risk facing fines of up to 0.1 percent of GDP.

The new regulations are due to come into effect on 1 January 2013.

Rough one for the Princess yesterday (photo: ultra)
Gorm shakes a DFDS ferry loose in England
DFDS’s ferry service from Newcastle to Amsterdam was delayed on Sunday af...
Diabetes is on the rise in Denmark (photo: Blue Diamond)
Diabetes cases on the rise in Denmark
One in nine Danes will have diabetes in ten years' time, according to a new...
Taxi drivers are Grinchy when it comes to Uber (photo: Petar Milošević)
Taxi wars: Uber offering tipsy Christmas revellers a free ride
The private taxi service Uber is offering drunken revellers in Copenhagen a...
Lagkagehuset's flagship shop is in Christianshavn (photo: iStock)
Lagkagehuset looking west: Let them eat cake in Jutland and London
Until now mainly a Copenhagen affair, the exclusive bakery chain Lagkagehus...
Regional and municipal employees enjoyed the biggest pay rises (photo: iStock)
Expert concerned: Pay rising more in the public sector than the private
New figures from the national statistics office show that pay is increasing...
The British defence minister, Micael Fallon, welcomes the co-operation with Denmark (photo: Policy Exchange)
Denmark joins international strike force
Peter Christensen, the defence minister, has signed an agreement with six o...