Danish opposition supports UK’s EU negotiations

Danish opposition changes policy towards Cameron’s EU renegotiations

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Denmark’s main opposition parties, in an attempt to outmanoeuvre the country’s ruling center-left coalition, have said six days before the Danish general election that if it they are elected they will support the UK’s attempts to renegotiations on the terms of EU membership

The Liberals, Denmark’s main opposition party, feel there is a need for a popular and moderate pro-EU strategy in Danish politics to prevent the anti-EU Danish People’s Party (DF) from coming ahead in the election.

The Liberals’ leader and candidate for prime minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, said that  "If we get the responsibility of government in the election, Denmark will seek to ally itself with Cameron to amend EU rules."

"We do not want the EU to become a social union, so that citizens from other EU countries who have only worked in Denmark for a short time get Danish child support and social security from day one," Rasmussen added.

“It would be a catastrophe if Britain left the EU.”

DF leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl said that "we are very keen to have reform for the EU and we would gladly have reform for all EU countries. But if that is not possible and only Britain gets a new deal then, without knowing exactly what that deal is, we think it would be in Denmark's interest to copy that."

Like British president David Cameron, the second most powerful opposition party DF has been seeking to limit welfare payments to EU migrants, power to block EU legislation, and limit EU influence on the internal politics of EU member countries.

Among the changes proposed by Cameron to Britain’s EU conditions are the limiting of welfare payments to EU migrants, cutting the red tape emanating from Brussels, giving national parliaments power to block EU legislation, and limiting EU influence on policing and justice.

On Monday a survey by Danish news agency Ritzau showed that Denmark’s opposition parties together have 54.3 percent public support, while the governing centre-left coalition with Thorning-Schmidt has 45.6 percent support.

According to Danish media, the election will be a race between Thorning-Schmidt’ center-left Social Democrats, the center-right Liberals and the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party (DPP).

Support for the DPP has coincided with rising numbers of asylum seekers, especially from Syria, and fears of competition from cheap labor from eastern Europe as well as Thorning-Schmidt’s decisions to cut unemployment benefits and sell some of Denmark’s energy utilities to a US investor bank.

Along with most of the rest of the world, Denmark suffered from the global financial crisis in 2008. After Thorning-Schmidt took office as Denmark’s first female prime minister in 2011 the country’s economy began to recover.

TRTWorld and agencies