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Denmark holds referendum on EU defence opt-out amid Ukraine disaster

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The referendum in Denmark to resolve whether or not to eliminate the nation’s opt-out from the EU’s defence coverage is the most recent instance of European international locations searching for nearer defence hyperlinks with allies in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

The referendum in Denmark to resolve whether or not to eliminate the nation’s opt-out from the EU’s defence coverage is the most recent instance of European international locations searching for nearer defence hyperlinks with allies in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Polling stations opened in Denmark for voters to resolve Wednesday whether or not to desert their nation’s 30-year-old opt-out from the European Union’s widespread defence coverage.

The referendum is the most recent instance of European international locations searching for nearer defence hyperlinks with allies in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It follows Sweden and Finland’s historic bids to affix NATO, which plans to take up their purposes on the finish of the month.

Some 4.2 million Danish voters are eligible to solid ballots within the referendum. The “sure” aspect — in favor of eliminating the 1992 opt-out — has been forward in latest months. Polls confirmed it with round 40% help and the “no” aspect with 30%.

“The world is altering, and never in a great way. We have to stand collectively and strengthen the cooperation that strengthens our safety,” Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, head of the opposition Liberal Social gathering, stated as he handed out flyers Wednesday in a last-minute try to persuade undecided voters to vote “sure.”

Current polls confirmed that about 20% of voters remained undecided.

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Modest affect on Europe

Denmark becoming a member of the EU’s defence coverage would have a comparatively modest affect on Europe’s safety structure, significantly in comparison with Sweden and Finland becoming a member of NATO. However Christine Nissen, a researcher with the Danish Institute for Worldwide Research, stated each strikes had been “a part of the identical story,” and would strengthen army cooperation on a continent shocked by the warfare in Ukraine.

The principle impact of abandoning the opt-out could be that Danish officers may keep within the room when EU colleagues focus on defence subjects, and Danish forces may participate in EU army operations.

Denmark on the sidelines

One of many founding members of NATO, Denmark has stayed on the sidelines of the EU’s efforts to construct a typical safety and defence coverage in parallel with the trans-Atlantic NATO alliance. It was considered one of 4 opt-outs that Danes insisted on earlier than adopting the EU’s Maastricht Treaty, which laid the muse for political and financial union.

The waiver means Denmark has not participated within the EU’s discussions on defence coverage, its growth and acquisition of army capabilities and its joint army operations, similar to these in Africa and Bosnia.

In a 1993 referendum, Denmark additionally opted out of cooperation in EU justice and residential affairs, the widespread forex and citizenship. The citizenship opt-out, which stated European citizenship wouldn’t exchange nationwide citizenship, has since change into irrelevant as different members later adopted the identical place. However the different provisions stay intact regardless of efforts by successive authorities to overturn them.

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Danish voters in 2000 determined to remain exterior the eurozone, and 15 years later they voted to maintain the exemption on justice and residential affairs.

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