Eurosceptic EU member Denmark voted in a referendum on Thursday to reject a government proposal to adopt the bloc’s justice rules, amid concerns over handing more power to Brussels. The ‘No’ side received 53.1 percent of votes, while the ‘Yes’ camp garnered 46.9 percent, final results showed. Voter turnout stood at 72 percent. “It is a clear no… I have full respect for the Danes’ decision,” Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said at a press conference. The ‘No’ side was led by the eurosceptic, anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DPP), which argued that dropping the country’s exemptions on EU justice rules—which it negotiated with Brussels in 1993 as a condition for accepting the Maastricht Treaty—would hand too much power to Brussels and could result in more immigration.
The ‘Yes’ camp had focused on the need for international coordination in the fight against jihadism, which it argued was highlighted by last month’s carnage in Paris that left 130 dead.
The vote was Denmark’s eighth referendum on its relationship with Europe since joining the EU in 1972, and the outcome was virtually identical to a referendum in 2000 on adopting the euro, when the ‘No’ camp won with 53.2 percent.
The Scandinavian country will now have to negotiate a special agreement if it is to stay inside the EU’s law enforcement agency Europol, which tackles organised crime, trafficking and terrorism.