Experts: Paris attacks could have an impact on upcoming Danish referendum

Terrorist attacks can fuel concern over open borders, but also bolster support for police

According to experts, the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, which left more than 120 people dead and more than 300 injured, could affect the result of Denmark’s upcoming referendum on EU opt-outs, Jyllands-Posten reports.

On December 3 Danes will be asked whether the country should retain its opt-out on legal co-operation in the EU or whether Parliament should be authorised to adopt aspects of the EU legal co-operation regime without any further discussion on sovereignty.

READ MORE: Danes to vote on EU justice opt-out in December

Frederik Hjorth, a researcher at the department of political science at the University of Copenhagen, told Jyllands-Posten that, because the question facing Danes is a such a complex one, the referendum may become an issue of trust in the EU system and open borders. He predicts therefore that the Paris attacks might nudge voters towards the No side.

“To the extent that the situation in Paris has an effect on the referendum, it’s probably to the No side’s ‘advantage’,” he said.

“Because it can actualise concern about security policy issues in relation to the refugee flow.”

But Adam Diderichsen, a political science lecturer at Aalborg University, speculates that events in Paris could have the opposite result on Danish voters on December 3, noting that trust in the police is likely to increase in the aftermath of the attack, bringing into focus the tasks that would become more difficult for Danish police following a No vote.