Denmark votes on scrapping EU defence opt-out

31/5/2022 6:31:00 AM

Denmark votes on scrapping EU defence opt-out

Copy to clipboard https://str.Copy to clipboard https://str.LinkedIn MELBOURNE : Oil prices rose to two-month highs on Monday as traders waited to see if the European Union would reach an agreement on banning Russian oil ahead of a meeting on a sixth package of sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.Russia's invasion and how to deal with the conflict's impacts: high energy prices, an impending food shortage and the EU's defence needs.

sg/w2rF COPENHAGEN (AFP) - After staying out of the European Union's common defence policy for 30 years, Denmark votes on Wednesday (June 1) in a referendum on whether to overturn its opt-out after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.More than 65 per cent of the country's 4.EU leaders will meet on Monday and Tuesday to discuss a new sanctions package against Russia, which could also include an oil embargo, and a programme aiming to speed up ending dependence on fossil fuels, including Russian gas.3 million eligible voters are expected to vote in favour of dropping the exemption, the latest opinion poll published on Sunday suggested.89 a barrel at 0111 GMT, while U.Analysts' predictions have however been cautious, given the low voter turnout expected in a country that has often said"no" to further EU integration, most recently in 2015.With a view to the summit tomorrow, let's hope it continues like this."We must always cast our ballots when there is a vote", Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen urged Danes in the final televised debate of the campaign on Sunday.The most tangible will be the leaders' political backing for a 9 billion euro package of EU loans, with a small grants component to cover part of the interest, so that Ukraine can keep its government going and pay wages for around two months.

"I believe with all my heart that we have to vote yes.On Friday, European countries scrambled to reach a deal to embargo seaborne deliveries of Russian oil but allow deliveries by pipeline, a compromise to win over Hungary and unblock new sanctions against Moscow.5 per cent, to $115.At a time when we need to fight for security in Europe, we need to be more united with our neighbours", she said.Denmark has been an EU member since 1973, but it put the brakes on transferring more power to Brussels in 1992 when 50.He called for similar unity from other EU states.7 per cent of Danes rejected the Maastricht Treaty, the EU's founding treaty."I don't think it would be a stretch to assume that speculators are positioning for a post-EU summit oil market bounce," said SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes.It needed to be ratified by all member states to enter into force.And when it stands united, it can use that power," Mr Habeck said at the opening of the German Hannover Messe trade fair.But the careful phrasing is deliberate because the issue is legally difficult, officials said.

In order to persuade Danes to approve the treaty, Copenhagen negotiated a series of exemptions and Danes finally approved it the following year.Since then, Denmark has remained outside the European single currency, the euro - which it rejected in a 2000 referendum - as well as the bloc's common policies on justice and home affairs, and defence.If agreed, a deal would allow Hungary, Slovakia and Czechia to continue to receive their Russian oil via the Druzhba pipeline for some time until alternative supplies can be arranged.'Ukraine the major reason' The defence opt-out means that the Scandinavian country, a founding member of Nato, does not participate in EU foreign policy where defence is concerned and does not contribute troops to EU military missions.Denmark is the only country to have negotiated a defence opt-out, though Malta remains de facto outside as well.Copenhagen has exercised its opt-out 235 times in 29 years, according to a tally by the Europa think tank.The oil market was also on edge after Iran on Friday said its navy had seized two Greek oil tankers in retaliation over the confiscation of Iranian oil by the United States from a tanker held off the Greek coast.

Danish PM Frederiksen called the referendum just two weeks after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and after having reached an agreement with a majority of parties in Denmark's parliament, the Folketing.At the same time, she also announced plans to increase defence spending to two per cent of GDP, in line with Nato membership requirements, by 2033."It was a big surprise", said the director of the Europa think tank, Lykke Friis.S."For the past many, many years, nobody thought that the government would put the defence opt-out to a national referendum", she said."There's no doubt that Ukraine was the major reason for calling the referendum.

" Berlin's announcement that it was reversing decades of defence policy by massively hiking its military spending also played a key role in the Danish decision, Friis said.rate hikes and as fears eased about a global recession.Germany is Denmark's closest ally, along with the United States."The very fact that they stepped up their game put Denmark in a position where we could not hide behind Germany any more".'Nato is enough' Eleven of Denmark's 14 parties have urged voters to say"yes" to dropping the opt-out, representing more than three-quarters of seats in parliament.Two far-right eurosceptic parties - the Danish People's Party and The New Right - as well as the far-left Unity List, have meanwhile called for Danes to say"no".

One of their main arguments is that the emergence of a joint European defence would come at the expense of Nato, which has been the cornerstone of Denmark's defence since its creation in 1949."Nato is the guarantor of Denmark's security.It would be totally different if it were decided in Brussels," the head of the Danish People's Party Morten Messerschmitt argued during Sunday's debate.After Finland and Sweden recently reversed decades of military non-alignment to apply for membership in NATO, and the Danish referendum, the three Nordic neighbours could all suddenly find themselves doubled up on European defence policy and NATO membership.The results of the referendum are expected around 11pm (2100 GMT) on Wednesday.

Denmark's autonomous territories of Greenland - which is not in the EU - and the Faroe Islands are not participating in the referendum.In December 2015, Danes voted"no" to strengthening their cooperation with the European Union on police and security matters for fear of losing their sovereignty over immigration.Join.

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