Poll: Strong Danish support for Constitution


Euractiv.com

In Short: With only 17% against and 54% supporting the EU Constitution the coast looks clear for the upcoming Danish referendum. A new broad agreement in parliament has secured backing from all major parties.

Brief News: A more pragmatic view of the EU seems to be taking hold in Denmark. At the recent European Parliament elections, the eurosceptic party, Juni-bevægelsen [June movement], led by veteran MEP Mr Jens Peter Bonde, lost two out of three seats. Now a new poll indicates stronger than expected backing for the European Constitution, which will be subject to a referendum in Denmark. The poll conducted by Catinét Research shows that more than half the population, 54 %, would vote 'yes' in the referendum with a 'no' vote of 17.4 %, and 28.6 % undecided.

The poll comes with all the main political parties having just put the finishing touches to a ground breaking agreement that stipulates the guiding principles of future Danish EU policy. Among them is backing for the Constitution.

Most importantly, the traditionally reluctant Socialist Left Party are part of the agreement along with four other parties, ranging from the Conservatives and the Liberal party of the ruling government coalition, the radical centre party plus the Social Democrats.

The four-page agreement, which bears the title "Denmark in the enlarged EU", has already been dubbed 'The second national compromise'. The first one was the agreement that created the Danish opt-outs from the Maastricht Treaty in the wake of Denmark’s ‘no’ vote in the 1992 referendum. This first compromise also had the backing of the Socialist Left Party, which helped to ensure a narrow victory for the ‘yes’ camp in the second Danish Maastricht referendum in 1993. This paved the way for the EU's ratification of the treaty, and also the tradition of the EU not taking no for an answer, most recently seen with the Irish referenda on the Nice Treaty in 2001 and 2002.

Tough criticism of the new Danish agreement has come from the far right Peoples Party and the Juni-bevægelsen. Furthermore, the Socialist Left Party is split on the issue. An internal party showdown is expected in December.