Denmark has been part of the EU since the EU was created out of the EC, but it has never been a full-blown member. Rather, Denmark has held some opt-outs since joining the EU. This was because the Danish citizens rejected joining the EU in full in 1992, but accepted a watered down membership in 1993 (interestingly enough, the last election I couldn’t vote at, and the first I could vote at, respectively). Ever since then, there have been attempts at getting rid of the opts-outs, but every time the Danes rejected this – that is, until yesterday, where there was a national referendum on the Danish opt-out on defense, where the Danes voted yes.
This will allow Denmark to participate in EU missions and to use the resources of the EU. This is a historical development, as it is the first time since joining, that Denmark moves closer to the EU.
The abolishment of the defense opt-out was endorse by most major parties in the Danish parliament, with two far-right and one far-left parties being against. But even among the far-left party’s voters, there was some support for the idea.
Unsurprisingly, those of us that supports stronger ties to the EU are very happy with the results.
Unrelated, yet somewhat related, I just want to mention that while I was at a referendum-day party with the political party I am active in, we had some rather prominent gate-crashers, as five ministers from the government, including the Danish Prime Minister, dropped by for a short period to celebrate a together with us. This was pretty interesting, since my political party, is not the government party. This was a good gesture, showing that the fight for overturning the opt-out was a common cause among the parties.
Also, it is great to live in a country where it is actually possible for the PM and 4 of her minister, to drop by a party more or less unannounced (I am sure some people heard about it before it happened). There was not security screening of people beforehand, and while there obviously were security along, it was not particularly noticeable. And even before the PM and her crowd showed up, there were several members of parliament (members of my political party) at the event.
I just wish the British had been more sensible – I can’t help wondering what the result would be if the refarendum was rerun now after both experiencing the ‘joys’ of Brexit, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
“Also, it is great to live in a country where it is actually possible for the PM and 4 of her minister, to drop by a party more or less unannounced.”
From an American perspective, I see a number of talking points from this sentence. First, the USA is simply much more populated than Denmark, so I would expect to have to jump through a lot more hoops to meet an American president, obviously. BUT, I am learning that politicians and even non-politicians who work in the public service realm do like to meet and talk with ordinary citizens. As an introvert myself, this is a surprising thing, and a bit of an uncomfortable thing to learn. I say uncomfortable, because I see that it is my duty as a citizen of a democracy to actually take these people up on their willingness to meet, even though it discomforts me as an introvert. Second, the insane position the USA has taken towards guns makes it much tougher for us to meet with our elected representatives. In other words, if you are a pro-gun American, YOU are undermining grass-roots democracy, but maybe that is a goal for you.