Prime Minister of Denmark Helle Thorning-Schmidt (C) speaks next to Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven (R) and Estonian Trade Minister Anne Sulling during a press conference ahead of the Nordic and
Participating in a meeting of Nordic and Baltic prime ministers ahead of the Nordic Council's 66th Session in Stockholm, Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt said that Denmark is not prepared to recognize Palestine as a state.
“We all have the same goal of creating peace in the Middle East. In Denmark, we also support a two-state solution, but we have chosen another direction and we stand by that. But it is important to say that every country makes its own decisions on this question but we all agree on the same goal: creating peace in the Middle East," Thorning-Schmidt said at a press conference.
According to Swedish media, Norwegian PM Erma Solberg also said that Norway would not recognize Palestine before a two-state solution was ready.
Shortly after his election, new Swedish PM Stefan Löfven announced that Sweden would become the first major European nation to officially recognize Palestine as a state.
"The conflict between Israel and Palestine can only be solved with a two-state solution, negotiated in accordance with international law," Löfven said during his inaugural speech in parliament.
"A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and a will to peaceful co-existence. Sweden will therefore recognize the state of Palestine," he added.
See also: Sweden to recognize state of Palestine
Sweden's decision led to speculation over whether Denmark would follow suit, particularly given that when she assumed office in 2011, Thorning-Schmidt said that Denmark would "cooperate with the other EU countries on the recognition of an independent and viable Palestinian state". Shortly following Sweden's announcement, however, Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said that the Danish government is not ready to support Palestine as a state at this point.
"We look forward to being able to recognize Palestine as a state but it is hard to do that before we know whether the state would have any chance to exist," he told Politiken.
This led to criticism from, among others, one of Lidegaard's predecessors, Holger Nielsen.
"The government should reevaluate its decision. The Swedes have taken a very brave step and they need support for their decision," Nielsen told Jyllands-Posten.
The advocacy group ActionAid Denmark (Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke) on Monday launched a petition to get Denmark to recognize Palestine. In less than two days, it has amassed 12,000 signatures.