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Danish left-wing party changes stance on EU membership referendum

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Danish left-wing party changes stance on EU membership referendum
Nikolaj Villumsen and Pernille Skipper of the Red Green Alliance. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix
12:08 CET+01:00
The left-wing Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) party no longer wants a referendum on Danish EU membership in the near future, citing the turmoil in the United Kingdom over Brexit as a background for the decision.

But the party still wants the Danish people to vote over the issue in the long term, according to comments given by its lead candidate in forthcoming EU elections.

The day after the British referendum on EU membership in 2016, the Danish party, which has 14 MPs in the Danish parliament, called for a similar vote in Denmark within a year.

But lead political spokesperson Pernille Skipper now accepts this was a mistake, Jyllands-Posten reports.

“We are not campaigning with a demand for a referendum. Instead, we are campaigning on the basis of changing the EU from within,” Skipper said.

“We have learned from Brexit that there should be great clarity over what the alternatives are before you conduct such a referendum,” she added, calling Brexit an "eye-opener" for her party.

But the Red-Green Alliance will again call for a referendum once the UK’s withdrawal is complete and there is more clarity over the implications of leaving the EU, Ritzau reports.

The UK is currently scheduled to leave the European Union on March 29th, but a majority in the British parliament voted on Wednesday to delay that date, with lawmakers unable to reach consensus over the withdrawal process.

Postponement of Brexit must be agreed to by each of the EU’s other 27 member states.

European Parliament elections are scheduled for May 26th.

The Red-Green Alliance lead candidate for those elections, Nikolaj Villumsen, stressed that his party remained EU-sceptic.

“The Red-Green Alliance is fundamentally critical of the EU, and we want a referendum on Denmark’s relationship with the EU. But it would be a requirement for us that there are clear alternatives,” Villumsen told Ritzau.

“We have no desire to copy Brexit and the chaos it has evolved into. So we do not think a referendum in Denmark is relevant until Brexit has gone through,” he said.

The party is alone in the Danish parliament in its desire for an EU membership referendum.

READ ALSO: 'Time to think about the 5 million in limbo': UK parliament votes to delay Brexit

 

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