Danish PM says country 'should' join the euro

Helle Thorning-Schmidt, premier ministre du Danemark, participe à la réunion des 8 leaders européens de gauche

Denmark should eventually become part of the eurozone as it would benefit the small, Scandinavian country, Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has said in an interview.

Though the Danish prime minister currently has no plans of calling for a referendum of Denmark's euro opt-out, Thorning-Schmidt personally believes the country should still join "eventually".

The Scandinavian country held a euro referendum in 2000 where 53.2% voted against adopting the EU's common currency. And since there is no sign that public opinion has changed since then, Thorning-Schmidt said she was "careful" about holding another vote, even though she believes joining the euro would be in Denmark's best interest.

She does believe however that Denmark should get rid of some of the opt-outs it has negotiated in four EU policy areas - security and defence; citizenship; freedom, security and justice; and the economic and monetary union.

"What I'm saying is that we would gain more influence over matters that already affect us which a small country doesn't have much influence over anyway. This is what the EU is about, basically," Thorning-Schmidt said in an interview with the online media Altinget.

"Therefore, I think that getting rid of the opt-outs would mean that we put ourselves in a place where we would have more influence on issues that affect our economy, our labour market and other things that really matter," she continued.

Thorning-Schmidt rarely discusses EU issues publicly in Danish media, despite being known as an avid supporter of the EU. She has worked in Brussels and has been an MEP from 1999-2004 before becoming prime minister. The Social Democratic leader didn’t either mention the EU in her New Year’s speech, even though the Danish population will have an EU referendum on the Unified Patent Court in May, coinciding with the Parliament elections. 

'Germany runs the show'

Should the prime minister call a referendum, she can expect backing from the Liberal Party, which is currently the biggest opposition party in the Danish parliament. However, Liberals would prefer that Thorning-Schmidt waits until the euro crisis is over.

"But when they have approved and implemented the banking union and stronger economic rules, then it is our view to recommend a 'yes' to joining the euro," Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, the Liberal's EU spokesperson, said.

Kristian Thulesen Dahl, leader of the biggest eurosceptic party in Denmark, the Danish People's Party, said the government should either accept that the population isn't in favour of the euro or have the referendum now.

He added that he was critical of the view that Denmark could gain more influence as Germany continues to decide the eurozone policies.

"We would get more influence, on the outside. But I believe it's doubtful whether this has real substance to it," Thulesen Dahl said.

  • 25 May 2014: EU referendum on patent court and European Parliament elections in Denmark.
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Ott's picture

The bottom line: their money is already pegged to the euro, the central bank can't print money at will, laws in Denmark need to change before they can do that, so de facto they are using the euro, without having a seat at the ECB table and with a need to convert money when doing trade outside Denmark. Either unpegge your currency or join the euro, you lose the most from the current situation.

Barry Davies's picture

What a dimwit this man is, does he not read anything about the economies of the nations stuck with this politically dogmatic currency? The only solution is to unpeg the Danish currency from the euro, not to join the damn thing and make matters worse.

an european 's picture

Barry is angry because that very beautiful Danish PM hasn't mentionned the sterling pound as Dansk best interests!
As usual ...

Barry Davies's picture

What are you withering about the Danes don't use Sterling, in fact if Scotland secede they won't be able to use Sterling either, and side when has looks had anything to do with ability or is that the next braindead idea to come out of the eussr, mind you it would put paid to the ugly political failure barossos career.