After having remained on the sidelines for over three decades, Denmark will vote Wednesday in a referendum to join the European Union's defense policy. The overwhelming majority of the 4.3 million people who called the polls voted yes. This poll reached more than 65% in its last publication on Sunday.
Despite the high likelihood of abstention, caution is advised. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen stated that voting is mandatory for all elections. "I believe that we should vote Yes. She said that we must be closer to our neighbors when we fight for Europe's security.
Denmark has remained out of the euro since 2000, when it was rejected by a referendum. However, Denmark is still excluded from European foreign policy. This last exception meant that the Scandinavian country, a founding member NATO, could not take part in any EU military mission. According to the Europa think tank, Denmark is the only EU country with this "opt-out" - even though Malta is de facto outof defense cooperation. It has used it 235 times in 29 year.
The Danish Prime Minister announced a deal with all parties in Parliament two weeks after the invasion. He also promised to submit the ending of the exception to a referendum. Significant military investments were also made to break the NATO bar of 2% GDP. Europa director Lykke Friis says that it was a surprise. She said, "For years and decades no one believed the government would call for a referendum about the defense opt-out." "Without Ukraine this referendum wouldn't have happened."
A major role was also played by Berlin, Denmark's closest ally to the United States. It decided to reinvest heavily in its army. Lykke Friis stated that Denmark was in a position where it could not hide behind Germany. Although once marginalized, the defense policy of 27 has seen a lot of momentum in recent years. Even though the idea of a European army is still controversial for many capitals. Expect the results to be announced Wednesday night.