Historically eurosceptic Denmark votes right this moment in a referendum on whether or not to overturn its opt-out on the EU’s frequent defence coverage.
The vote comes on the heels of neighbouring Finland’s and Sweden’s historic purposes for NATO membership, and because the struggle in Ukraine forces international locations in Europe to rethink their safety insurance policies.
Greater than 65% of Denmark’s 4.3 million eligible voters are anticipated to vote in favour of dropping the exemption, an opinion ballot printed on Sunday advised.
Nevertheless, analysts’ predictions have been extra cautious, given the low voter turnout anticipated in a rustic that has typically mentioned “no” to extra EU integration, most lately in 2015.
Denmark has been an EU member since 1973, however it put the brakes on transferring extra energy to Brussels in 1992 when 50.7 per cent of Danes rejected the Maastricht Treaty, the EU’s founding treaty. As a way to persuade Danes to approve the treaty, Copenhagen negotiated a collection of exemptions and it was permitted the next yr.
Since then, Denmark has remained outdoors the European single foreign money, the euro — which it rejected in a 2000 referendum — in addition to the bloc’s frequent insurance policies on justice and residential affairs, and defence.
The defence opt-out implies that the Scandinavian nation, a founding member of NATO, doesn’t at the moment take part in EU overseas coverage the place defence is anxious and doesn’t contribute troops to EU navy missions.
Politicians backing the transfer
Danish voters got a closing likelihood to listen to from political leaders on Tuesday night, throughout a televised dwell debate.
“I vote sure tomorrow from the center,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen instructed the viewers. “When there’s a struggle on our continent, then coming collectively is the very best reply we may give.”
Mai Villadsen, the chief of the Pink/Inexperienced alliance, nonetheless, disagreed.
“Solely right this moment the EU agreed on a brand new package deal of sanctions in opposition to Russia,” Villadsen mentioned. “I feel we have now proven each within the EU and likewise in Denmark that we stand by the Ukrainian folks. However that has nothing to do with the defence opt-out, it has nothing to do with Russia and Ukraine.”
Frederiksen referred to as the referendum simply two weeks after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and after having reached an settlement with a majority of events in Denmark’s parliament, the Folketing. Frederiksen additionally introduced plans to extend Denmark’s defence spending to 2 per cent of gross home product, in keeping with NATO membership necessities, by 2033.
Eleven of Denmark’s 14 political events have urged voters to say “sure” to dropping the opt-out, representing greater than three-quarters of seats in parliament.
Polls opened at 8:00 am CEST and shut at 8:00 pm, with the ultimate outcomes due round 11:00pm.
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