Danish government promises new referendum in event of supranational EU army

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish government promises new referendum in event of supranational EU army
Danish foreign minister Jeppe Kofod during a visit to Georgia in March 2022. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark’s government said on Monday it will hold a fresh referendum on the country’s participation in EU defence and military areas should the union ever decide to establish a supranational army.


Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said that the government would guarantee a referendum in such an event, but called the scenario “unthinkable”.

“It is completely unthinkable that there would be a proposal for a treaty with a supranational army. European countries would never accept it,” he said.

“But even if it did happen, I guarantee that the government would insist on a referendum. And the government would recommend that the public vote no (to the treaty),” he said.


The question of an EU army has become topical after the government in March announced that citizens will vote on whether to overturn Denmark’s opt-out from EU defence policy in a referendum to be held on June 1st, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Denmark’s opt-out – retsforbehold in Danish – is one of four EU special arrangements negotiated by the Scandinavian country, and has seen it abstain from participation in EU military operations and from providing support or supplies to EU-led defence efforts.

READ ALSO: Why does Denmark have four EU ‘opt-outs’ and what do they mean?

Kofod spoke on the issue after newspaper Jyllands-Posten recently reported that the government would not guarantee a new referendum should the result of the upcoming referendum be to scrap the opt-out, followed by the EU announcing an EU army at some time in the future.

A supranational EU army would represent a significantly larger commitment from member states than the present EU joint military activities.

EU countries can currently choose not to send their soldiers on military missions with the EU, but that right would not exist in a theoretical EU army. That has concerned commentators and EU sceptics who say that the final decision to send Danish soldiers into conflicts should always be in the hands of the Danish parliament.

“I can guarantee that the (governing) Social Democrats would be against making the (military) participation supranational. And I am yet to see any parties in parliament who would not be against it,” Kofod said.


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