Thursday, 12 January 2012

Denmark: EU Council presidency with opt-outs

The previous Grahnlaw post mentioned three of the Danish EU opt-outs. Let us take a brief look at all of them.

Danish opt-outs

At least on paper, Denmark looks like Britain, having four opt-outs from European co-operation. These opt-outs concern defence policy, justice and home affairs, the euro and union citizenship, the Folketinget (parliament) mentions in its presentation.

Earlier governments as well as the current one, led by Helle Thorning-Schmidt, have toyed with the idea to scrap one or more of the opt-outs. It would be in the national interest according to the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), but the politicians have not yet braved the uncertain outcome of a national referendum.

The atmosphere in Denmark is much more cooperative, constructive and positive than in the United Kingdom, where obstructionism, vetoes, repatriation of powers and calls for secession compete for the top spot, interspersed by occasional reminders about the importance of the internal market for British jobs and businesses.

Fiscal pacts and Schengen

Denmark participates in the Euro Plus Pact and in the negotiations aiming at a new, intergovernmental fiscal compact. The UK remains outside the first and has forced the intergovernmental route for the second.

Denmark is also a part of the Schengen Area with common external borders and free travel inside.


The NYT IHT offers a description of Denmark's position at the beginning of the Council presidency.

Ralf Grahn