Denmark on the margin

I fear Robert Taylor is mistaken (Profile: Denmark, 9 October) when he predicts that the political beneficiaries of the Danish "no" vote on the single currency will be the left-wing Socialist People's Party (PSP) and not the rabidly far-right Danish People's Party. The poll indications are that the DPP has emerged stronger and more legitimated from a campaign that frequently - even on the "left" - tipped over into xenophobia. The formerly communist leader of the June movement even went so far as to claim that European political integration could lead to the Danes being forced to accept a Muslim or Catholic rather than a Protestant king.

The PSP was deeply split between supporters and opponents of the euro. The pro-euro faction rightly insisted that the left has a big interest in closer political union in the EU. Indeed, the leader of the PSP - who was fiercely anti-euro - now believes that the Danish government should support greater majority voting by the EU Council of Ministers in areas such as social and environmental policy in the negotiations on a new EU treaty. Unfortunately, the increasingly self-confident and stridently nationalist far right is demanding that Denmark marginalise itself still further from the rest of the EU.

John Palmer
Brussels, Belgium

This article first appeared in Why Brown should hold his nerve

2000-10-23