Denmark votes to join EU defense pact over Ukraine crisis

Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen (left) speaks with Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (centered) and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen ahead of a EU leaders extraordinary meeting to discuss Ukraine, defense and energy in Brussels, on May 31, 2022. (JOHN THYS / AFP)

Denmark aims to meet NATO countries' target defense spending of 2 percent of GDP by 2033, with efforts starting to be made in 2024, according to the referendum held June 1

In a referendum held Wednesday, a vast majority, or 66.9 percent, of Danish citizens, voted for the move, according to the preliminary results from Statistics Denmark, which gives the Nordic country a seat at the EU table to discuss military cooperation. The vote occurred with a turnout of 65.76 percent of the 4,260,944 electoral roll.
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"I believe that it is the right thing for Europe and for Denmark and our future," said Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen after casting her ballot earlier in the day, believing that Denmark may be more united than ever on EU policy.

Due to the defense opt-out, Denmark could not participate in EU military operations or cooperation on the development and acquisition of military capabilities within the EU framework. Furthermore, the country was not obligated to provide military support or supplies to EU-led efforts in conflict zones, nor to participate in any operational decisions or planning.

In March, the Danish Parliament decided to hold June 1 the referendum, part of a new multi-party agreement on defense, amid mounting concerns over the Russia-Ukraine military conflict.

In addition, Denmark aims to meet NATO countries' target defense spending of 2 percent of GDP by 2033, with efforts starting to be made in 2024, according to the agreement.
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