Denmark: In and Out

The EU is bracing itself for profound change over the coming six months. The incoming Danish presidency has placed all its political eggs in one basket and made enlargement the top priority. But, issues of inclusion and exclusion always go hand-in-hand. So, while the EU prepares to admit new member states, many European governments are moving to restrict access for third-country nationals.

The World Today Published 1 July 2002 Updated 23 October 2020 4 minute READ

Charlotte Lindberg Warakaulle

Speech Writer, Director-General of the United Nations Office, Geneva

On July 1, Denmark takes over the rotating Presidency of the European Union (EU) – at least in part. The country’s complex system of treaty exemptions – the so-called opt-outs – means that Danish ministers will head negotiations in policy areas where Denmark has chosen to stay outside certain provisions. In crucial areas such as defence and monetary policy, Greece will be presiding.

In recent months, politicians – notably those in Pia Kjaersgaard’s Danish People’s Party – have captured international headlines with moves to tighten national asylum and immigration legislation. Paradoxically, the opt-out on justice and home affairs has the unintended consequence that the Danish government may set the EU agenda in this high-profile policy area, but will not necessarily be implementing legislation adopted under its supervision.

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