The influential leader of Denmark’s populist anti-mass migration party has called for a referendum on his own country’s membership of the European Union (EU), hoping for similar concessions to those demanded by the British government.
Kristian Thulesen Dahl — the leader of Denmark’s second largest political party, the Danish People’s Party (DF), which is allied to the British Conservatives in the European Parliament — made the comments in his weekly newsletter posted on the DF website.
As with Britain, Denmark already enjoys exemptions from some EU regulations and maintains its own independent currency, the krone. As a country it was supportive of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s renegotiation of membership terms, and Mr. Thulesen Dahl says that the Danish government should now be trying to win similar concessions to those recently given to the UK.
He suggests that if a majority cannot be found to support a demand for such concessions in the Danish Parliament, “why not ask the Danes to decide via a referendum?”
Denmark voted in its own referendum last December, which backed Mr. Thulesen Dahl’s rejection of a government proposal to adopt EU justice rules amid concerns over handing more power to Brussels.
Despite the DF not being fully against his country’s membership of the EU, Mr. Thulesen Dahl even sees positives in a vote for Brexit in June’s referendum. He told supporters “it is important to emphasise that it is a situation which provides opportunities for Denmark.”
He said that in the event of a Leave vote, the UK would still forge a deal with the EU based on close cooperation, saying this would “most likely” be an interesting position for Denmark and that “other countries may find it attractive as well.”
Such an agreement would, he predicts, be intended “to ensure continued close cooperation, inter alia, ensuring free trade and thus the important export access for businesses to other countries’ markets.”
In conclusion, Mr. Thulesen Dahl said that regardless of the outcome the current situation is “exciting and momentous,” a “milestone” which presents an opportunity to change from an “EU course where countries decide less and less” with “more and more centralisation”.