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EU - The Danish Defence Opt-Out
Due to the Danish defence opt-out, Denmark cannot participate in the "elaboration and the implementation of decisions and actions of the Union which have defence implications”. In practice, this means that Denmark is unable to participate in EU military operations or in the cooperation on development and acquisition of military capabilities within the EU framework, nor will Denmark participate in any decisions or planning in this regard. However, Denmark will not prevent the development of closer cooperation between Member States in this area.
The Danish defence opt-out came into being after the Danish ‘no’ vote at the Maastricht referendum in June 1992. Subsequently, a majority in Parliament negotiated an agreement on the basis of the so-called “national compromise”, involving Danish opt-outs in four areas.
This “national compromise” was the starting point for the Danish government at the negotiations with the other EU member states, which resulted in the Edinburgh Agreement in December 1992. A referendum on the Edinburgh Agreement was held on 18 May 1993, which resulted in a ‘yes’ vote.
The Lisbon Treaty does not change the content of the Danish defence opt-out. However, an intensified comprehensive approach involving civilian and military actors can potentially result in more frequent invocations of the opt-out.
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