Danish premier: Talks due on opt-outs from European Union

Other News Materials 22 April 2008 19:57 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) -  The Danish centre-right minority government is soon ready to invite other political parties to discuss its opt-outs from the European Union, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Tuesday.

Rasmussen told reporters that the invitation would include the pro-EU parties in parliament, likely ruling out the populist Danish People's Party that otherwise has provided backing for his minority government in recent years.

Denmark joined the EU in 1973, but obtained opt-outs after voters initially rejected the Maastricht Treaty in a 1992 referendum. The opt-outs include the economic and monetary union, security and defence policy, and justice and home affairs.

Rasmussen said the deliberations would take "some time" and could not spell out when a possible referendum was due.

Parliament was soon slated to ratify the Lisbon Treaty that the government earlier concluded did not require a specific referendum as some parties had called for.

Rasmussen said the opt-outs were no longer necessary and "contrary to fundamental Danish interests."

Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller later told Danish news agency Ritzau he expected a timetable to be agreed on by this summer.

Opinion polls have suggested that Danish voters remain reluctant about introducing the joint European currency, the euro.