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People's Daily Online

Denmark votes to join EU defence pact amid concerns over Russia-Ukraine conflict

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 13:24, June 02, 2022

COPENHAGEN, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Denmark has voted to join the European Union's defence pact and scrap its 30-year-old opt-out from the bloc's common security and defence policies.

In a referendum held on Wednesday, a vast majority, or 66.9 percent, of Danish citizens, have voted for the move, according to the preliminary results from Statistics Denmark, which gives the Nordic country a seat at the EU table to discuss military cooperation. The vote occurred with a turnout of 65.76 percent of the 4,260,944 electoral roll.

"I believe that it is the right thing for Europe and for Denmark and our future," said Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen after casting her ballot earlier in the day, believing that Denmark may be more united than ever on EU policy.

Due to the defence opt-out, Denmark could not participate in EU military operations or cooperation on the development and acquisition of military capabilities within the EU framework. Furthermore, the country was not obligated to provide military support or supplies to EU-led efforts in conflict zones, nor to participate in any operational decisions or planning.

In March, the Danish Parliament decided to hold on June 1 the referendum, part of a new multi-party agreement on defence, amid mounting concerns over the Russia-Ukraine military conflict.

In addition, Denmark aims to meet NATO countries' target defence spending of 2 percent of GDP by 2033, with efforts starting to be made in 2024, according to the agreement.

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