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Denmark and the Constitutional Treaty: a Difficult Two-level Game

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Chapter Summary

Through the 1990s the Danish political elite moved from seeing the original European Communities (EC) as a common market to seeing the EU as a political project. This shift was clear in the referendum debate about the Amsterdam Treaty in May 1998. Getting a new EU treaty accepted in Denmark has to be a major concern of any Danish government. It required a major national and international effort to get the Maastricht Treaty ratified with opt-outs in 1993. The Ministry of Justice decided in November 2004 that the Constitutional Treaty did involve a transfer of sovereignty to the Union and, therefore, Section 20 of the Danish Constitution applied. The government chose to accept the draft from the Convention and concentrate its energy during the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on retaining the Danish opt-outs in the new treaty. This way the new treaty could be adopted without abolishing the Danish opt-outs.

Keywords: Amsterdam Treaty; Constitutional Treaty; Denmark; European Communities (EC); European Union (EU); Intergovernmental Conference (IGC); Maastricht Treaty

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