Referendum in the balance
On 21 August, Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen announced a referendum on replacing Denmark’s ‘opt-out’ on EU Justice and Home Affairs with an ‘opt-in’ model – similar to the one used by Ireland and the UK.
This is one of four opt-outs in a test to see if Denmark should become a full member. However, over the summer it became clear that the opt-out war over the euro would not be fought with maturity for a change. The Greek tragedy was still too fresh in everyone’s minds here.
In August the migrants from Syria and the terror attacks in Paris were still unimaginable eventualities.
Now it seems that general anxiety has taken over. Paris is under attack from French citizens and Brussels is searching for the culprits with an almost war-like intensity.
Meanwhile, in Denmark, we’ve all but forgotten the terror attack earlier this year – an attack with only two victims and one madman.
Now, IN Paris, Islamic State has sounded the wakeup call. This together with the downing of a Russian passenger aeroplane has made the world come out with a common cry: Enough is enough! So the long awaited process for armistice and the suppression of IS can effectively start.
Denmark wants to help as effectively as it can, and we are to go to the ballots to try to do just that. However, only Danish citizens are allowed to vote, so 200,000-300,000 internationals will not have a chance to voice their opinion.
But the Danes are confused. They do not want to compromise sovereignty, but they also do not want to be kept out of the loop when it comes to catching the bad guys – not only terrorists, but also burglars, high-street robbers, drug traffickers and white-collar criminals, who have cheated the tax authority of more than 6 billion kroner.
The ‘yes’ contingent say that we are left behind if we do not fully join EUROPOL – the ‘no’ continent say that a bilateral agreement between Denmark and the EU could be entered into easily.
They might both be right. Denmark did not go bankrupt when it opted out of the euro, but Denmark was committed to it – and yet it had no say in the negotiations over support to Greece.
This referendum is really an ideological rally.
Those who believe Denmark should integrate more in the EU should vote ‘yes’. Those who believe we should not give away any formal sovereignty (although everybody knows that we have to harmonise most legislation and enter into special agreements anyway) should vote ‘no’.
However, it has now become a human rights and civil rights issue – more security and more police to protect us from terror and less legal control to save us from state austerity.
Remember: all power corrupts and should be controlled. Do not let the fear of maniacs override this.