A woman rides a bicycle as she leaves a polling station at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, west London on Thursday. Photo: Leon Neal/Scanpix
“As a nation, we in Denmark understand your scepticism about the EU, perhaps better than any other country. Three times we voted no — in 1992, 2000 and 2015 — but never out,” the right-wing daily wrote in an editorial it posted in both English and Danish.
“Let us stay and fight for pragmatic, better and more sustainable European solutions,” it said, adding that Britain's voice was needed in the EU to “fight for free trade and (for) breaking down regulation and bureaucracy.”
A cartoon on the paper's front page showed a door marked with an EU flag slamming shut on a half naked man with a bowler hat and an umbrella, tearing off his Union Jack suit as it closed behind him.
Denmark has been a reluctant member of the EU since joining in 1973, rejecting the Maastricht Treaty in a 1992 referendum and only saying “yes” the following year after being granted opt-out clauses on the euro, defence, and justice and home affairs.
Danish voters also rejected joining the euro in 2000, and proposals to lift some of the country's exemptions on EU justice rules were turned down in a referendum in December last year.
Like his British counterpart David Cameron, Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen wants to curb European migrants' access to child benefits, but with exports accounting for just over half of the country's economic output there are few politicians who back leaving the bloc completely.
Rasmussen tweeted on Thursday afternoon that he was hopeful Brits would vote to remain:
The eurosceptic Danish People's Party, one of the government's main allies in parliament, wants Denmark to obtain further EU opt-outs in case of a Brexit, as it believes Britain would then obtain a “hybrid” agreement with the bloc rather than leave completely.