Minister: Swedish 'yes' on euro will influence Denmark's decision

  • 2002-12-05

A "yes" vote by Sweden in favor of joining the euro zone would influence the outcome of a similar referendum in neighboring Denmark, Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller said Nov. 29.

His comments came after Sweden - which along with Denmark and Britain are the only EU states to remain outside the single European currency - announced it would hold a referendum on the issue next September.

"A Swedish 'yes' will have an influence on Denmark," which voted against adopting the currency in a referendum in September 2000, Moeller said.

"But Denmark will not follow its neighbor's path in the near future," the Danish minister said, adding that he was not surprised that Sweden was to put the issue to a popular vote, describing the decision as expected.

The chief economist at Denmark's Danske Bank, Joergen Birger Christensen, echoed Moeller's comments, saying: "If the Swedes vote 'yes', then it could have an impact on the sentiment of Danish voters."

The Swedish decision could put pressure on the Danish government to call a plebiscite, he added, but explained, "They will certainly not move before they know the result in Sweden."

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen recently said the divisive issue would not be put up for consideration before around 2005, when legislative elections are scheduled in Denmark.

"I think that the government feels that there is no reason to rush things - it's only two years since the last vote and with the strong Danish economy, the financial cost of being outside is modest," he explained.

Danish support for the euro - which has been in circulation in 12 EU countries since January 1 - is thought to be around 58 percent, although analysts have said opinion polls are skewed by the lack of an active anti-euro campaign on the current political scene.

The country voted 53 percent against adopting the euro in the September 2000 referendum.