Danes to vote on EU justice opt-out in 2016
The government has cut a deal with members of Venstre, SF and Konservative to put Danmark’s opt-out of EU justice policy regulations to a vote.
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 the Maastricht Treaty. The opt-outs are laid out in the Edinburgh agreement and cannot be changed without Danish consent.
Although several governments, including Anders Fogh Rasmussen's, considered abolishing the opt-outs, attempts to bring the issue to a referendum have been shot down each time. But recently the issue has become more pressing because of the risk that Denmark will be forced out of the European policing co-operation, Europol.
Policing the issue
Denmark currently stands outside large parts of the EU's legal policy.
“Our wish is that the Danes have the opportunity to decide if we need to replace our current legal reservations with an opt-in model so that we can continue to participate in the EU police co-operation," said PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt in a statement. “We have made a deal that Danes will vote within the first quarter of 2016. This means that whoever wins the next election is required to implement such a vote.”
A ‘Yes’ vote would allow Denmark to remain part of the co-operative EU policing effort Europol.
Nothing in the new agreement suggests that any of the parties are ready to have Denmark involved in a common European refugee and asylum policy.