Denmark will not follow Britain, no EU referendum

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Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and the leader of the main opposition Social Democrats both reject staging a referendum on the country’s membership of the European Union as suggested by eurosceptics.

A Danish referendum was necessary against the backdrop of Britain’s decision to leave the EU, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, leader of the eurosceptic Danish People’s Party, said.

His remarks were made during a debate on the future of the EU to be aired Monday evening by Danish public broadcaster DR.

A Danish referendum was not necessary, Rasmussen said.

“It is quite clear that there is a very, very broad parliamentary majority that Denmark should stay in the EU,” he said.

“We don’t stage referendums on matters unless we want to change them,” added the premier, leader of the right-leaning Liberals.

Mette Frederiksen, leader of the Social Democrats, said her party “has not at any stage wished to have a referendum, and we still don’t.”

Frederiksen added that she “could not defend” a possible decision by Denmark to leave the bloc and said Thulesen Dahl’s proposal was “a gamble” with Europe’s peace and security.

Thulesen Dahl’s party provides parliamentary support on many issues for Rasmussen’s ruling centre-right minority government, but opposes EU membership.

Denmark has been an EU member since 1973, joining the same year as Britain and Ireland, but since 1993 has opt-outs on EU matters related to justice and home affairs, and has also opted out of the euro currency union and the bloc’s defence rules.