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Denmark Holds Referendum on EU Defense Policy

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Denmark Holds Referendum on EU Defense Policy

Denmark defense referendum 2022
Denmark defense referendum 2022
Denmark will hold a referendum on ending its opt-out of the EU’s common defense policy. Photo: Mark Konig/commonspace.eu

Denmark will hold a referendum on ending its opt-out of the EU’s common defense policy today.

The opt-out was one of Denmark’s conditions to join the bloc. It is now under scrutiny following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the tense geopolitical environment in Europe. Should Denmark vote to end its opt-out, it would become a more integrated part of the EU in security matters and further promote the idea of the bloc developing strategic autonomy. Recent opinion polling suggests the “yes” vote for ending the opt out will prevail.

Current, Denmark’s opt-out and Finland and Sweden’s non-membership of NATO  —which creates a mismatch of commitments and obligations— hampers security cooperation between Scandinavian states and the Europe. However, The Danish referendum is the latest example of the significant geopolitical realignment of Scandinavian nations. Both Sweden and Finland—traditionally neutral nations have formally applied to join NATO and are currently undergoing the ascension process.   Should NATO membership for Finland and Sweden be established and the Danish opt-out ended, these differences would largely be harmonized—clearing the way for increased security cooperation through the EU and NATO.

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