Copenhagen was previously the only EU member excluded from the body’s common defense policy
Danish voters have opted to join the EU’s collective security protocol by a substantial majority, in what Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called a “clear signal”Moscow in response to the Ukrainian attack.
A referendum to overturn a decades-long policy to remain outside the EU’s defense bloc – formally known as the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) – passed easily on Wednesday, with nearly 67% of voters in favor.
Though Denmark was the only EU state that did not belong to the CSDP due to a 1993 referendum on the Maastricht Treaty, which officially established the union, the prime minister suggested the move was in response to Russia’s ongoing military operation in Ukraine.
“We have sent a signal to our allies in NATO, in Europe. It was a clear signal. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,”Frederiksen stated late Wednesday that the referendum had passed, and added: “When Putin invades a free and independent country, when Putin threatens peace and stability, we all move closer together.”
Despite Denmark’s previous reluctance to formally sign onto the CSDP, its military cooperates extensively with other EU states, and Copenhagen is a founding member of the NATO alliance, carrying out regular exercises and drills with partners across Europe. Wednesday’s vote will, however, mean that Denmark can participate in joint EU military operations and the development and acquisition of new gear.
The historic policy shift follows similarly unprecedented moves by Sweden and Finland in recent weeks, with both applying to join NATO despite long traditions of neutrality, also citing Moscow’s military action. Turkey was the only NATO member to object to Turkey’s membership. It claimed that both countries were too lax with Kurdish groups who have ties to terror. It remains unclear whether Helsinki and Stockholm will secure the required unanimous approval from the bloc’s 30 members.
Denmark has been a strong supporter of Ukraine during the civil war in Ukraine. They have supplied various military hardware such as tanks, mines, mortar shells, anti-ship missiles Harpoons from the USA, as well a wide range of military equipment. However, a request by Swiss officials to send 20 Swiss armored vehicles was vetoed recently. This is despite the fact that the government has long maintained its non-alignment policy in foreign conflict.
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