PM sets out case for referendum on EU opt-outs

Referendum could increase level of European co-operation

Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt used her speech at the opening of parliament to set out her case for a referendum on the Danish opt-outs to European co-operation.

According to DR Nyheder, the government has talked to other parties in favour of abolishing the opt-outs and will set up a commission to look into the consequences of doing so.

Becoming more pressing
In 1992 Denmark was granted four opt-outs in the areas of defence policy, justice, home affairs and the single currency following the Danish no-vote to Maastricht Treaty in 1992. They are laid out in the Edinburgh agreement and cannot be changed without Danish consent.

Although several governments, including that of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, have considered abolishing the opt-outs, attempts to bring the issue to a referendum have been shot down each time. The issue has become more pressing because of an immediate risk that Denmark will be forced out of the European policing co-operation, Europol.

Thorning-Schmidt included holding a referendum on the opt-outs in her government program manifesto.