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EU President accuses populists of misleading Danes

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EU President accuses populists of misleading Danes
President of EU parliament Martin Schulz attends a conference titled "People in Europe" on October 10, 2016 in Passau. Photo: Armin Weigel/Scanpix Denmark
21:16 CEST+02:00
The president of the European Parliament has accused the anti-immigration Danish People's Party of misleading Danish voters into voting “no” in last year's EU referendum.
Martin Schulz on Thursday used the example of the Danish Referendum, in which voters were asked to decide on a highly technical question, to back his call to limit the power of national parliaments over international agreements. 
 
"Look at the referendum in Denmark,” Schulz said, according to a Danish translation of his press conference. “The voters were told by the Danish People's Party that it was against the European Union, and that is very popular at the moment. But it ended up reducing the security of the Danish population. And that was not in the voters' interest, but they voted for it.” 
 
In the Danish referendum, voters were asked whether they wanted to exchange the country's “opt-out” from the European Union's Justice and Home Affairs legislation for an “opt-in” similar to that of the UK's. 
 
The “yes” side, led by the Liberal Party government and the Social Democrat opposition, sought to reduce what is an extremely complex question down to Denmark's continued membership of the European police body Europol. 
 
The Danish People's Party, however, went one further, almost entirely ignoring the question to be decided and instead campaigning with the slogan “More EU? No thanks”. 
 
The party dismissed fears that Denmark would lose its Europol membership.
 
But nearly one year on, the country has still failed to reach a “parallel agreement” which would allow it to remain a member.
 
"It is still very doubtful whether we can succeed in finding a solution with the EU Commission," Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said in September. "It is difficult to keep the Danish police within Europol, but I have not given up all hope.” 
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