For the second time last year, Denmark plans to exit the European Union. The Parliamentary Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs has described this proposal as “ready for the government to move forward.” Will it be approved or rejected? The final decision will be made next week.
According to reports, the Free State of Denmark is planning to close the Schengen Zone within six years. This follows a similar plan to run away from the European Union for the first time in September 2018, when the Danish Prime Minister labelled the “Schengen Rule” as a restriction on freedom of movement and demanded that its gates be open.
EU law permits member states, if they so choose, to decide whether or not to continue participating in the open border Schengen Zone, as long as there is no possibility of suspension.
Denmark, an EU member since 1973, has previously said it plans to leave the European Union on 28 March, 2019, which falls on a Sunday. The government will have the option of passing that decision to Parliament on that day, as only three members of the majority Christian Democrat party and four members of the liberal party will be needed to vote against it.
The prime minister of Denmark, Lars Loekke Rasmussen, thinks this is a good idea. “Denmark could still contribute to the EU if it was not present,” Loekke Rasmussen has previously said, “and also when it is ready, we would not always be working in line with the intentions of the EU.” He went on to explain that since in the future EU treaties would no longer allow free movement of goods between member states, they “could also not allow free movement of people.”
After an agreement was reached among five countries to keep open their borders without Schengen rules, the prime minister has said that he didn’t want to follow suit. “We see it as highly advantageous if Denmark and Norway and Sweden remain in the Schengen Area without limiting citizens’ freedom of movement,” he has said.
Denmark’s decision to stay in the Schengen area was viewed as a good deed, and the country received wide support, with a poll declaring that 90 percent of people are in favour of Copenhagen’s plans to exit the EU.
It might not seem so, if you compare this negative stance of the Danish prime minister with his sympathy for the citizens of Cyprus. During an interview in September 2017, he said that for both the Cypriot people and the authorities, he would be “very sympathetic.”
“I would go along with what they choose,” Loekke Rasmussen said.
The Danish National Coordinator for Migration said that Denmark would be at the forefront of any European Union exit process. “We are the pioneers with this,” he said.