The referendum about Denmark’s justice opt-out this December has demonstrated that the hype surrounding sovereignty still clouds the minds of many Danes. But which way will the vote go?
Point of no return?
The set of rules that are working well for our nearest neighbours, Sweden and Germany, are looked upon with scepticism in Denmark – not for their content but for their infinity. Passing the point of no return is, for a nation that was an agrarian society until only a hundred years ago, a scary event.
Danes would rather have a number of bilateral agreements about issues such as bankruptcy, family affairs, debt collection and, of course, police co-operation in EUROPOL. There is no reason to doubt that this is not a possibility. These acts are basic common sense, and when other European nations are comfortable with them, our participation can only be an improvement. But for the electorate, the question stands: will the government hand over Denmark’s sovereignty just for the fun of it?
It has also been remarkable to see that the campaigns have focused on the terrible things that will befall Denmark if the country votes no – or yes, depending on who you ask. Added to this, no responsible politician dares to argue for more integration and more co-operation, which seems to be the obvious answer regarding the tasks ahead. Nobody has claimed that giving away sovereignty so far has not been at a very favourable exchange rate.
Mainly, the migrants and refugees who have arrived in Europe are living proof that even the likes of Germany and extremely liberal Sweden have come to realise that they have to do some reverse engineering to try to keep up with the speed of the developments.
The day after tomorrow
As we speak, the world has gathered in Paris to try to meet the challenge of climate change.
In Beijing, the citizens are advised to stay indoors to avoid smog so thick you can cut through it, and in New Delhi traffic has almost come to a standstill as fumes engulf all the shiny new cars. Ice is melting in the Arctic and hurricanes are spitting high waters and hell.
Keeping this in mind, it seems that the issue of the referendum and its implications are best lost in insignificance and a lack of proportionality. The Danes do like to play an important role in Europe, but they are not only as sly as the German occupation forces were told in 1940, they are also slow. (ES)