How will Danes vote in this week’s EU defence opt-out referendum?

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
How will Danes vote in this week’s EU defence opt-out referendum?
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen campaigning in Holbæk ahead of the EU defence opt-out referendum on June 1st 2022. Photo: Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix

An increasing number of people in Denmark support voting to scrap the country’s opt-out on EU defence.


With the June 1st referendum on Denmark’s EU defence opt-out fast approaching, public support for revoking the opt-out (or forbehold in Danish) is solidifying, according to a latest poll.

48 percent of eligible Danes who can vote in the referendum would vote yes to scrapping the opt-out at the current time, according to a poll conducted by Voxmeter on behalf of news wire Ritzau.

READ ALSO: When can foreigners in Denmark vote in elections and run for office?


The poll was conducted between May 23rd-29th and is the last canvassing of opinion prior to Wednesday’s referendum. It includes answers from 1,001 people who responded to telephone calls from pollsters.

21 percent answered “don’t know” in the poll, while 31 percent they would vote “no”, meaning they favour retaining the opt-out.

A poll earlier this month put 38 percent in favour of scrapping the opt-out.

The government announced in March a June 1st referendum in which citizens will decide whether to overturn Denmark’s opt-out from EU defence policy. The referendum was called following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The opt-out is one of four EU special arrangements negotiated by Denmark, and has seen the Nordic country abstain from participation in EU military operations and from providing support or supplies to EU-led defence efforts.

The government, as well as a majority of parties on both the right and left wings, have campaigned for the public to vote “yes” to removing the opt-out.

Only the far-left Red Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) and far-right Danish People’s Party and Nye Borgerlige (New Right) parties are in favour of a “no” vote.

After the Danish public voted to reject the Maastricht Treaty in June 1992, Copenhagen obtained opt-outs in four sovereign areas: the single currency, justice and police matters, and EU citizenship along with defence, the opt-out which will be the subject of the upcoming referendum.

The opt-outs mean, broadly, that Denmark is not obliged to follow EU laws on these areas and is also not involved in forming the laws – its ministers and officials do not participate in EU ministerial meetings in these areas.

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



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