The new minority government lead by Lars Lokke Rasmussen has announced plans to bring forward a planned referendum to relinquish its exemption from European Union justice rules, previously planned for March 2016.
Days after forming a weak minority government, Rasmussen’s unlikely coalition indicated he would bring forward the poll, aimed to settle the issue of Denmark’s place in the EU-wide police agency Europol, having exempt themselves from the original EU justice agreement in 1992.
“It will be this year because it’s super-important for us to keep close to the core of European cooperation,” Rasmussen told reporters.
It’s timing comes ahead of the United Kingdom’s own referendum on EU membership terms, pledged in 2017 as part of an election promise by recently re-elected PM David Cameron.
Rasmussen’s pro-EU statement on the matter is an about turn on his original comments during election campaigning to mollify Eurosceptics from the right wing Danish People’s Party supporters. He had hoped to form a coalition agreement with them, but they stood firm on demands about a full-blown referendum on remaining in the EU.
The DPP is expected to campaign for a ‘No’ vote.