Denmark votes to join the EU’s common defense policy

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Denmark votes to join the EU's common defense policy

Denmark took to the polls on Wednesday to vote on whether or not to join the EU's common defense policy. With nearly all votes counted, roughly two thirds of Danish voters supported the measure, reported DW, quoting news agencies AP and Reuters.

It comes as the European nation is seeking closer defense ties with its allies in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Denmark's electoral authority reported that 66.9% voted in favor of ending Denmark's opt-out from EU defense policy, with 33.1% against.

"We have sent a clear signal to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin," Social Democrat Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said.

"With the decision we have made, we show that when Putin invades a free and independent country and threatens peace and stability, we will move closer together,'' she added.

When it goes into effect, Danish officials will be able to remain in the room when EU colleagues discuss defense topics. It also means Danish forces can take part in EU military operations.

Why did Denmark call the referendum?

Prime Minister Frederiksen said when calling the referendum that a "Yes" vote would "strengthen our security."

It followed dramatic changes in the security environment in Nordic countries in particular in the wake of Russia's attack on Ukraine, as long-neutral Finland and Sweden sought to join the NATO military alliance.

Denmark is already a member of the trans-Atlantic alliance but had remained outside the EU's moves toward formulating a common defense policy.

Von der Leyen: vote is a 'historic choice'

The vote to abolish the opt-out was a win for those in favour of greater EU-cooperation in Denmark and accross the EU.

EU Council president Charles Michel commended Fredriksen for her "determined leadership" in supporting the "yes" vote to get Denmark to join the defense council.

Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also hailed the outcome of the referendum.

"Every step each of us takes, makes us stronger in the face of these tectonic shifts,'' she wrote.

EU Commission chiefs Ursula von der Leyen welcomed it as a "historic choice."

Von der Leyen said it was a "strong message of commitment to our common security," adding that both Denmark and the EU would benefit.

Denmark votes to join the EU's common defense policy

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