Denmark to Join EU Common Defence Policy on 1 July
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Denmark is expected to completely abandon the defence opt-out and join EU security cooperation arrangements on 1 July, the Danish Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, the final outcomes of the Wednesday referendum in Denmark were unveiled, showing that the vast majority of Danes, nearly 67%, backed the abolition of the EU defence opt-out and expressed their support for the country's participation in the bloc's common defence, with about 33% voting against.
"It is expected that Denmark can join the European cooperation on security and defence as from 1 July 2022," the ministry said in a statement.
Denmark must first follow the formal procedure of adopting a legislation, with a bill to be ratified and published to come into effect. After abolition of opt-out is completed Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod will inform EU member states that "Denmark no longer wishes to make use of the opt-out."
"The Danes have spoken. We can now fully participate in the European cooperation on security and defence. And we can thereby take greater responsibility for security in our own neighbourhood. This is a good and important step. Unity in Europe is the best answer we can give in the current situation," Kofod said in the statement.
As soon as the opt-out is abolished, Denmark can apply for participation in the European Defence Agency and the Permanent Structured Cooperation, PESCO, the statement said, adding that the role of the Danish parliament in making defence-related decisions will remain intact, particularly with regard to the country's potential participation in EU military operations.
In March, the Danish government initiated a referendum on abandoning the EU defence opt-out and joining the bloc's defense policy, citing shifts in security situation in Europe shattered by the conflict in Ukraine. The defence opt-out arose after Denmark rejected the Maastricht Treaty in a general vote in 1992, meaning that Denmark declines involvement in EU foreign and security policy initiatives that relate to defence. Denmark did not engage in EU military operations, did not provide funding for them, and did not contribute troops and military equipment to the war zone alongside the EU.
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