On Thursday December 3, the Danes will be invited to the ballot boxes to vote on the EU opt-out on legal co-operation – not to remove it totally, but in reality to authorise Parliament to accept it in small slices without any further discussion on sovereignty.
Should pass easily
Had Parliament tried to pass it, it would have required a five-sixths majority – mission impossible given the opposition of Dansk Folkeparti and Liberal Alliance from the government’s own blue corner. However, thanks to the support of Parliament’s biggest party, Socialdemokraterne, it would have comfortably got a majority.
It seems that a majority of the electorate will approve the proposal, thus indicating that politicians and population are in harmony for once. Previously that has not been the case. So far so good.
No longer an island
Financial fraud, drug and human trafficking and, not least, international terrorism has made it clear that although we have numerous islands, the nation can no longer rely on its natural borders to keep out dark forces.
Without cross-border policing and Interpol, we risk isolation and becoming a favoured venue for criminals, where the risk of disclosure is minimal and the consequences of committing a crime are mild to say the least.
The world is different
Any naivety this city might still have enjoyed totally evaporated with the city centre shootings in February. It drew attention to how Danes continue to sign up to fight for Islamic State – an organisation the nation is officially at war with – and the footage of the heartbreaking scenes in the Mediterranean of refugees risking their lives to get away.
When you watch people with so little but their lives to lose, it is clear that the normal rules do not apply anymore. Whatever we thought we knew, we don’t: international co-operation is the only way forward now.
Stop the criminals
Give criminals access to people as desperate as the migrants and we have serious problems. It is imperative that we provide them with civilized occupational activities to prevent them from developing the same criminal skills to provide for themselves.
So while it will be a welcome step in the right direction for Denmark once the opt-out has gone, it is only the start. Constructive participation must begin, even if it comes only in slices.
The opponents of the referendum seem to take it for granted that such slices will be eaten by EU without any trouble, and at the end of the day that may be true, but we saw during the Greek euro crisis that some EU members are starting to act as politicians at last and realising that horse-trading is a necessary option when the going gets tough.
Let’s all hope we have a positive outcome to the referendum and not have to listen to the nasty sound of triumphant criminals on the way to the bank.