Danish euro referendum, 2000

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Results by county
  Yes
  No

A referendum on joining the euro was held in Denmark on 28 September 2000.[1] It was rejected by 53.2% of voters with a turnout of 87.6%.[2]

Background[edit]

On 2 June 1992, Danish voters rejected the Maastricht Treaty in a referendum. On 18 May 1993, Denmark ratified an amended treaty in accordance with the Edinburgh Agreement. This meant that, among three other areas, Denmark would not be part of the European Monetary Union (EMU). In March 2000, as the currency was being launched, the Danish government led by Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, a supporter of the common currency, decided to hold a referendum on Danish entry into the monetary union.[2] In May 2000 the government tabled the bill. According to the bill, if the outcome of the referendum was in favour of adoption of the euro, Denmark would be able to join the euro area as from 1 January 2002 with the euro as "book money". Euro banknotes and coins would be introduced as from 1 January 2004, after which krone banknotes and coins would be withdrawn.[3]

The largest political parties, including the opposition Liberals and Conservatives, were all in favour entering the EMU. So were the industrial and banking sectors and the majority of labour unions. Only one national paper (Ekstra Bladet) came out against EMU.[4] Five political parties did oppose EMU: two right-wing parties (the Danish People’s Party and the Progress Party), two left-wing parties (The Socialist People's Party and The Red-Green Alliance) and the centre-right Christian People’s Party. However, these parties were all relatively small and represented only 39 of 179 seats in parliament at the time).[4]

Campaign[edit]

When the referendum was called, support for the "Yes" side was just below 50% while the "No" side was just below 40% according to opinion polls. However, public opinion shifted and from June 2000 until the referendum in September all polls showed 15–20 per cent undecided and an almost fifty-fifty split between EMU-supporters and EMU-sceptics.[5]

Several factors eroded support for the "Yes" side:[6]

  • The release of the Danish Economic Council's semi-annual report in May which concluded "the economic benefits to be reaped from EMU membership were uncertain and small and that the EMU could best be described as a political project." This report had a major influence on the debate and undermined the "Yes" campaign's narrative that EMU was vital for the economy.
  • EU sanctioning of Austria following the formation of a government coalition between the Conservative Wolfgang Schüssel and the Freedom Party of Jörg Haider in Austria was unpopular in Denmark and undermined trust in both the EU and the Prime Minister who had agreed to the sanctions. (This was widely seen as unwarranted intervention in the democratic process of a small member state).
  • The euro had dropped 25% in value against the US dollar since its introduction in 1999, creating concern about its viability.
  • The Prime Minister had tried to argue Denmark could unilaterally leave the euro if it chose, but was contradicted by the European Commission, again undermining his credibility.
  • The governor of the Danish Central Bank, Bodil Nyboe-Andersen argued on television that contrary to "Yes" side arguments, the Danish representative on the ECB Council would not act as a "Danish" representative.
  • Fears arose about the ultimate effect of EMU on the Danish welfare state and pensions, which the PM could not assuage.
  • At least some of the vote was simply against the government, which had been in power for eight years by that point and would be swept out of power the following autumn.

Results[edit]

Choice Votes %
For 1,620,353 46.8
Against 1,842,814 53.2
Invalid/blank votes 40,358
Total 3,503,525 100
Registered voters/turnout 3,999,325 87.6
Source: Nohlen & Stöver

By County[edit]

Region For Against Electorate Votes
Copenhagen & Frederiksberg Municipality 169,154 201,263 446,155 376,291
Copenhagen County 188,824 207,026 450,043 399,864
Frederiksborg County 120,627 117,546 269,775 240,562
Roskilde County 74,487 79,871 173,068 155,940
West Zealand County 81,899 112,501 223,692 196,344
Storstrøm County 73,936 100,523 200,123 176,294
Bornholm County 11,662 16,752 33,747 28,845
Fyn County 142,461 166,395 357,537 312,237
South Jutland County 78,914 83,912 187,254 164,610
Ribe County 68,533 74,856 165,339 144,953
Vejle County 107,277 118,464 260,740 229,162
Ringkjøbing County 88,400 86,837 202,362 177,280
Århus County 202,714 213,946 479,278 421,747
Viborg County 71,856 79,198 175,053 152,902
North Jutland County 139,609 183,724 375,159 326,494
Source: European Election Database

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p525 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  2. ^ a b Results and background for referendum EU Oplysningen (in Danish)
  3. ^ Abildgren, Kim (2010). Monetary History of Denmark 1990–2005 (PDF). Copenhagen: Danmarks Nationalbank. p. 219. 
  4. ^ a b Marcussen, Martin; Mette Zølner (2003). "The Danish EMU Referendum 2000: Business as Usual". Government and Opposition. 36 (3): 379–402 [386]. doi:10.1111/1477-7053.00071. 
  5. ^ Marcussen and Zølner, 390.
  6. ^ Marcussen and Zølner, 389-394.