European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans told Denmark’s leaders yesterday (27 September) that they would not get the cross-border policing deal they have been seeking since Danes voted in a referendum to quit Europol.
In a precursor to the much more dramatic vote by the British in June to leave the European Union entirely, Danes last December rejected a government proposal for new laws needed to keep the country inside the European police agency.
Since then, the government has sought what is known in EU jargon as a “parallel deal” that would allow it to maintain some cooperation with Europol.
But Timmermanns told Danish broadcaster TV2 that was not possible.
“I’m afraid not. You can’t be slightly pregnant – you’re either pregnant or you’re not. If you vote to be out of Europol, you’re out of Europol. I don’t see on the basis of the legal situation any alternative for that,” Timmermanns said.
“The vote of the Danish people was very clear, and the consequence of that vote is that Denmark will not be in Europol,” he said.
Denmark’s Minister for Justice Søren Pind worries that his country will increasingly miss out on important information that could prevent terror attacks.
Britain’s leaders face a similar, but far more wide-reaching conundrum, as many would prefer to keep access to the EU single market while avoiding the obligation to allow EU citizens free movement, something the Commission says is out of the question.
Denmark joined the European bloc along with Britain and Ireland in 1973 and has long enjoyed exemptions from several EU laws.