European policy at top of Danish PM’s agenda

Series Title
Series Details 05/10/95, Volume 1, Number 03
Publication Date 05/10/1995
Content Type

Date: 05/10/1995

By Ole Ryborg

EUROPEAN policy will feature high on the Danish Parliament's agenda this autumn. In his opening speech to the Folketinget, Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen invited all eight parliamentary parties to participate in the preparation of Denmark's approach to next year's Intergovernmental Conference.

Rasmussen's objective, which he did not spell out in his speech, is to reach a broad agreement outlining Danish priorities for the forthcoming IGC. Discussions are expected to start next week and the government is hoping to settle the matter quickly so that the negotiations which are expected to sour the country's political climate do not run into the debate over the next Danish budget.

The Folketinget's two extreme parties, the Enhedslisten on the left and the Fremskridspartiet on the right are unlikely to participate in the joint-party EU memorandum. Both objected to the Maastricht Treaty and the Edinburgh Agreement. The big question-mark hangs over the socialist (SF) and the liberal (Venstre) parties. The SF, which helped secure the Yes vote in the second Danish referendum, is split in two. Venstre, which is led by former Foreign Minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, might not ascribe to the memorandum if it is not ambitious enough.

Specifically, the SF wants the four reservations obtained by Denmark in the Edinburgh Agreement to be included in the memorandum, a demand that Venstre categorically rejects. As a result, the government is expected to opt for a broadly-formulated memorandum and avoid going into details to secure bargaining leverage when treaty negotiations commence. In a further ploy to keep tempers cool, the prime minister will conduct separate negotiations with the socialists and the liberals to avoid any heated verbal exchanges.

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