‘Why not ask Danes to decide?’: Far-right party wants Danish EU referendum like UK

Danish People's Party leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl © Scanpix Denmark
Britain appears to be shaking up the European political establishment, as its debate on leaving the EU has got Denmark’s far-right People’s Party talking of following suit. The party is the country’s second biggest.

Denmark already enjoys a number of concessions it managed to wrestle out of the EU in exchange for being a member, such as not having the euro. However, the Danes are growing increasingly impatient with the bloc. People’s Party leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl believes the government should either renegotiate its relationship with the EU, or do what Britain has decided: have a referendum.

“One cannot but pay tribute to British Prime Minister David Cameron. He has realized that the British will no longer follow the EU on the wrong course,” Dahl writes on his website. 

If Britain is successful, it would “most likely” still engage in some form of close cooperation with the EU, Dahl said, adding that “other countries may find it attractive as well,” including Denmark. It would be a model “we haven’t seen before.”

One of the main thrusts of Dahl’s argument is that Denmark should no longer “help to throw money at costly rescue plans for crisis-hit euro countries,” and should redefine the attitude toward refugees. In sum, the official wants less interference from Brussels in the majority of matters.

Dahl’s People’s Party holds 37 seats in the 179-seat Danish parliament – three more than the ruling Liberal Party. This gives it a lot of sway with the government. It is also the largest of the three parties supporting the minority government.

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Britain, which also enjoys several exemptions from common EU policy, will have its vote to leave on June 23. As with Denmark, the right is up in arms over leaving.

Euoskepticism has been taking the continent by storm lately. Danish neighbors the Swedes have also recently threatened that if the UK were to vote out in June, 36 percent of them would wish to leave as well, versus 32 in favor of staying. For the time being the balance is slightly tipped in favor of staying, according to a recent poll by TNS Sifo for Swedish Television News.