Denmark was scheduled to hold a referendum this fall on the pre-conditions for its integration into the EU. The Danish Parliament has already ratified the Lisbon Treaty, but the proposed referendum concerned the “opt-outs”, the parts of the EU’s laws and regulations which would not apply to Denmark.
Then the current constitutional crisis intervened. The ruling by the European Court of Justice concerning immigration laws ran up against the wall of Danish law and the will of the Danish people as expressed by their elected representatives (see the bottom of this post for links to previous articles on this topic).
The people at the summit of power in Denmark are in consternation. What is to be done? One thing is for sure — no one in power wants the people of Denmark to express their opinion.
The Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, returned from vacation and immediately began to say all the wrong things, much to the disgust of many Danes, including fellow members of his own ruling coalition.
But Fogh has hitched his wagon to the EU, so it’s no wonder he’s torn about what to do. He’s the leader of Denmark, but he’s also a satrap, a local authority representing his masters in Brussels. Henrik Ræder Clausen of Europe News has this to say about the Prime Minister:
When I look at the behaviour of Fogh, it looks distinctly as if he works as an administrator, and not a head of state. He’s an administrator facing possible rebellion in his province. He waddles between denial, repression and joining the rebel cause. If he stands for his country and his former ideals, his chances of promotion go poof.
So the referendum has to go. The ostensible reason is that the Irish vote against Lisbon requires a postponement, but that’s just a fig leaf. Listening publicly to the voice of the people is the last thing that Anders Fogh Rasmussen wants to do.
Our Danish correspondents have been working overtime doing translations for the last couple of weeks, so I asked our Norwegian correspondent The Observer to translate this article from yesterday’s Jyllands-Posten:
Fogh cancels EU referendum
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen (V) is definitely ruling out plans for holding a referendum regarding the EU pre-conditions later on this year.
The explanation for the prime minister’s decision on this issue concerns the uncertainties regarding the future of the Lisbon Treaty following the Irish no vote earlier this year.
“We had originally envisioned having a discussion about the EU, and perhaps even a referendum. But due to the Irish no vote, this is no longer the case,” the Prime minister told Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten in an interview.
Hopefully there will be a referendum within this political term
– – – – – – – – –
There were plans to hold a referendum later on in the year regarding several EU-related issues. This was more convenient than holding a referendum next year, because of the election to the EU Parliament in June, and the local Danish elections in November in 2009.
The Prime Minister is still optimistic about resolving these issues while he’s in office, but will not make any promises.
“We are of the opinion that the pre-conditions are harmful to Danish interests. The most honest way of resolving these issues would be to let the people have their say at some stage during this political term. But at the present time it’s to early to agree on a date, especially since the ‘Irish’ question hasn’t been resolved,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Ah, but Mr. Rasmussen: the Irish question has been resolved. If you and the rest of your cohort in the lofty eyries of the European Union were honest, you’d acknowledge that, by the EU’s own rules, the Irish vote nullified the Lisbon Treaty. It’s time to deep-six that obnoxious document and start over from scratch.
But how likely is that to happen?
And the most honest way of resolving the issue would be to let the Danish people decide. It’s honest, and right, and a good thing to do, but Fogh won’t do it.
This is dissimulation at its finest.
EU discussion at summer camp
The Prime minister has decided to stick to the original plan to use Venstre’s summer camp this coming Saturday, to discuss the EU with both proponents and opponents of the organization. But it will not be the start of any EU campaigns.
No one can predict which path the EU will follow after the Irish no vote. The Irish Government will give a statement on the political situation in Ireland after the no vote earlier this year, but they are not obliged to come up with any solutions.
Social Democrats condoning postponement
The Social Democratic chairman for the European Committee, Svend Auken, agrees with the prime ministers decision.
“This is a correct decision. There is no logic in having a referendum before we know what’s happening with the Lisbon treaty,” Svend Auken says in an interview with TV 2 News.
Auken emphasizes that the social democrats supports a cancellation of the preconditions, but that he doesn’t expect a referendum until next year.
K [Conservative Party] agrees
Europe Chairman, Helle Sjelle (K), agrees with the postponement.
“I am of the opinion that Fogh’s decision is the correct one. The decision to postpone has always been in the cards,” she says.
“The conditions regarding the EU cooperation needs to be established. At the present time it’s not, and as a result we shouldn’t be sending people to the ballots,” she says.
Helle Sjelle confirms that K would like to resolve these issues.
“Fogh can’t afford to lose”
Søren Søndergaard, member of the EU-parliament and an EU-skeptic, praises Fogh’s decision, but casts doubts on the reasons behind this decision. He doesn’t share the view that this decision was a direct result of the Prime Minister’s concerns regarding the future of the Lisbon Treaty following the Irish no vote earlier this year.
“Anders Fogh seems to me to be a man that ‘can’t afford to lose’,” says Søren Søndergaard to Ritzau, and goes on to say that:
“The Government owes the people a referendum on this issue. It’s completely undemocratic that the Danish Government, and a majority within the Danish Parliament can hand over such a large proportion of Danish sovereignty to the EU without consulting the Danish people first.”
These people all agree with the Prime Minister, and they all have one thing in common: they are part of a stable, settled, secure, and comfortable power structure, one that depends on the rich web of connections between Denmark and the European Union. With the exception of the Danish People’s Party, all the mainstream parties face an uncertain future if the EU plug is pulled.
The constitutional crisis in Denmark is a dagger pointed at the soft underbelly of the European Union. Even if the general public is slumbering blissfully through the whole affair, you can bet that the mandarins of the EU and their satraps in the “regions” are well aware of the danger.
Previous posts about the Danish Constitutional Crisis:
|2008||Jul||29||The EU Lays Down the Law|
|31||Denmark’s Answer to the EU|
|Aug||1||The No Longer Forbidden Debate in Denmark|
|4||Who Rules in Denmark?|
|6||Danish Immigration Policy Capsized|
|7||The EU Puts Denmark on Trial|
Hat tip: TB.