The Danish Folketing and EU Affairs: Is the Danish Model of Parliamentary Scrutiny Still Best Practice?

  • Mette Buskjœr Christensen


European integration has been and still is a contested issue in Danish politics. Denmark is often thought of as a sceptical member of the European Union (EU), due in particular to the Danes’ rejection of two EU referendums (on the Maastricht Treaty and the euro) and Denmark’s opt-outs from significant policy areas of EU cooperation. Denmark has a small, open economy. It became a member of the European Community in 1973, mainly motivated by the economic benefits that could be achieved through free trade in the common market. The Danes, however, have often only reluctantly endorsed the more political aspects of EU cooperation that have evolved since the 1970s. This became particularly clear with Danish voters’ rejection of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, where the establishment of a more political union was on the agenda. The Danish rejection of the Treaty threw the EU into its first major crisis of democratic legitimacy, as a shift from the permissive consensus of EU public opinion became apparent. Danish conditions for accession to the Treaty were renegotiated in 1993, resulting in the Edinburgh Compromise in which Denmark obtained four opt-outs. All four opt-outs remain in place today: (1) from the third phase of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), that is, the euro; (2) from supranational cooperation on Justice and Home Affairs (JHA); (3) from defence cooperation within the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP); and (4) from EU citizenship, which no longer has any practical impact.


European Union National Parliament European Union Level European Union Integration Sectoral Committee 
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© Mette Buskjœr Christensen 2015

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  • Mette Buskjœr Christensen

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