Although there are lots of different opinions on the cartoons, it might not have been surprising that such critical voices could be heard from Denmark. The country is known for its quite patriotic inhabitants and strict immigrations policy – stricter than the EU laws. Denmark has also obtained four opt-outs from the Maastricht Treaty following the treaty’s initial rejection in a 1992 referendum. The opt-outs concern the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) and the citizenship of the European Union. Overall, the Danes were rather regarded as independent and patriotic than as one of the more cooperative EU member states. Also, the voter turnout was very low, indicating very little interest in the European issues.
Surprisingly a new poll by Eurobarometer shows that some 56% of the Danish people plan to cast a ballot in the European parliament elections. Only Luxembourg (62%) and Belgium (70%) are expected to have higher voter turnouts – in these two countries voting is mandatory. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Poland where 17% of the population intends to cast its vote.
Maybe this will turn out to be a wise decision: simultaneously with the elections to the European parliament, a referendum will be held on changing the Danish Act of Succession. In the future, male heirs to the throne will not have precedence over female successors. In order for the law to be approved in the referendum, it must get both a majority of votes cast in favour and at least 40% of all eligible voters voting in favour. A majority of voters support this change. Since it is non-controversial topic, the law could fail to be passed because simply not enough people show up at the ballot-boxes. The European parliament elections could prevent this from happening.