The Danes have supported entry into the common defense policy of the European Union, thus breaking with the exception they have maintained for more than three decades, according to the exit polls and the first results of the vote. In the referendum held this Wednesday, the first data indicate that more than 59% have voted “yes” to enter the military apparatus with their European partnersand the percentage of support could be higher, according to polls published after the polls closed.
The vote was called two weeks after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine. “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine threatens European peace and stability. Therefore, the time has come to change gears,” Defense Minister Morten Bødskov said at the time. “Denmark must be fully involved in the development of the European defense and security policy. We must do it in NATO. We must do it in the EU.”
Denmark rejected the Maastricht Treaty in a referendum in 1992, although it approved it a year later in a new consultation that included exceptions in four areas: monetary and economic union, defense, police and legal cooperation, and citizenship, although the latter is considered inconsequential after the Treaty of Amsterdam.
The exception in defense meant that Denmark could not participate in military missions of the EU – but civil – nor in debates or negotiations related to that area, and prevented it from belonging to the European Defense Agency and Permanent Structured Cooperation (CEP).
But its status as a member of NATO reduced the real impact of this exception, since Denmark has also participated in EU military missions but under the flag of the Alliance, the UN or subordinate to other countries.
This Wednesday’s is the ninth consultation related to Europe that is held in Denmark and the third time that one of the exceptions is submitted to a popular vote: on the two previous occasions, in 2000 on the euro and in 2015 on legal policy, they won supporters keep the model.
more defense spending
At the same time as calling the referendum, the Danish government also announced a increased defense spending gradual until reaching 2% of GDP in 2022, which is equivalent to just over 2,400 million euros, in line with the NATO objective.
The parties also agreed to set aside just over €940 million over the next two years to bolster Danish defence, diplomacy and humanitarian efforts.
“Historic times demand historic decisions,” Frederiksen said after the announcement, adding that it was “the largest Danish defense investment in recent times.”
“Putin’s useless and brutal attack on Ukraine has heralded a new era in Europe, a new reality,” Frederiksen said.
The influence of Finland and Sweden
Two weeks ago, Finland and Sweden formalized their application for NATO membership by hand-delivering the letter to their Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels. The Nordics, historically non-aligned countries, also directly blamed the Russian president for his decision.
“You [Putin] You have provoked it. Look in the mirror”, said the president of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, after announcing his support for “urgent” entry into NATO.
In an interview with elDiario.es, former Finnish Prime Minister Alex Stubb shared the same opinion. “I think the decision for Finland to become a NATO member was made de facto at 5:00 in the morning on February 24, when Putin attacked Ukraine,” he said, adding that applying for NATO membership was a process. “led by society”.
For her part, the Prime Minister of Sweden, the social democrat Magdalena Andersson, went from being opposed to joining NATO in February, to supporting it in May. “It is clear that February 24 marked a before and after. The security system on which Sweden has built its security is under attack. Freedom from military alliances has worked well for us, but it won’t in the future,” she said.
The accession of Finland and Sweden to the Alliance must be approved by all member states. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Jeppe Kofod, already communicated this Wednesday that he will request this Thursday the support of Parliament for the entry of the Nordic countries into NATO.