Denmark votes on EU defense reservation

Denmark to vote on EU defense reservation

Published on 01.01.1993

  • Parties advertise on posters for or against the abolition of the Danish EU defense proviso. Photo: Steffen Trumpf/dpa

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Defend reservation or defense without reservation? Denmark decides in a referendum whether it wants to get rid of a long-ago negotiated defense special arrangement.


A good three months after the Russian army invaded Ukraine, Denmark is voting on Wednesday on whether the country should be further outside the EU on defense issues should stay or not.

Almost 4.3 million Danes are called upon to vote yes or no in a referendum to answer whether Denmark can participate in future European security and defense cooperation. The voting locations are from 8.00 to 20.00 open. A provisional result is expected late in the evening.

Surveys show a clear trend

Surveys indicate that a majority of citizens support the so-called EU defense reservation wants to get rid of. In the last survey before the election, commissioned by broadcaster DR, 44 percent spoke out in favor of abolishing the special regulation. 28 percent were against. However, this also means that many people were still undecided or unwilling to give details until shortly before voting day. It is therefore anything but certain whether the Danes will decide to become more involved in the EU.

The majority of the Danish parties, including the governing Social Democrats of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, have come out in favor of abolishing the conditionally pronounced. It would be the first time that Denmark voted in a referendum to say goodbye to such a special regulation. In the year 2000 the northernmost German neighbor had against the euro and 2015 also voted against EU judicial cooperation.

First vote 1992

Denmark’s EU defense reservation since 1993. A year earlier, the Danes had voted against the Maastricht Treaty. The Scandinavian country then negotiated four special regulations for EU cooperation in order to remain outside of defense issues, among other things. In the second attempt, the Danish people finally approved the Maastricht Treaty by a majority.

The defense reservation means that the NATO founding member Denmark can participate in civil but not in military missions of the EU and also not in the joint development of weapon systems, for example. For example, the country is not part of the Pesco cooperation platform, through which joint military projects are organized by EU countries. (dpa)

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