EU branded ‘bigger threat than Russia by Danish MP before Dexit calls grew

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Denmark and Britain joined the European bloc on the same day: January 1, 1973. Since then, Copenhagen has often aligned itself with London on a number of policies during debates in Brussels. But with Brexit, the country has now lost a crucial ally within the EU.

This has led to political figures in Denmark and analysts highlighting the potential challenges for the country.

Social Democratic MEP Christel Schaldemose told DR in January, 2019, as the UK officially left the EU, that Brexit was “sad” for the country.

Another MEP, Morten Lokkegaard of the centre-right Liberals, said the UK had been a “political big brother” to Denmark in the EU.

Meanwhile, Josef Janning, a senior researcher at the European Council of Foreign Relations, highlighted how for years Denmark and the UK had shared scepticism of Europe.

He said: “Both countries have been sceptical for years about a centralised and federal Europe.

“Both believe that the EU should be a trade market first and foremost.”

In 2016, Marie Krarup, of the right-wing Danish People’s Party, even dismissed Russia as the country’s main threat and instead pointed the finger at a divisive Brussels.

When asked whether the EU was the biggest danger, Ms Kararup replied: “For Denmark? Yes, without a doubt!

“Just Schengen alone is a catastrophe.

“It’s something that will make Denmark disappear from the world map if we don’t pull ourselves together.

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“That national borders have been disbanded is a threat against Denmark’s existence.”

She acknowledged Russian leader Vladimir Putin was “an exponent of a despotic, non-democratic system” but admitted she would accept his help in taking down the EU once and for all.

Ms Krarup said: “I don’t want an EU like the one we have now.

“I want the EU buried and replaced by a forum for free trade.

“That’s our policy. If Putin or Marine Le Pen can help with that, that’s just fine.”

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The MP’s comments carried even more weight given Russia’s history of bullying Denmark.

In 2014, Putin authorised two simulated attacks on the Danish island of Bornholm, while the Russian air force had been responsible for several near-collisions with Danish passenger planes.

More chillingly, in March, 2015, Russia’s ambassador to Denmark warned the country it was a potential nuclear attack target, after it joined NATO’s missile defence system.

Regardless, Ms Krarup’s comments increased the clamour for an in-out Dexit referendum.

Immediately after Brexit, opinion polls in the country swung hugely, with 42 percent of Danes calling for a vote.

Kristian Thulesen Dahl, also of the Danish People’s Party, said at the time: “I think it is very encouraging because it illustrates that many Danes are tired of the way the European Union works.

“I take it as a sign of commitment and belief in the future, that there are so many who believe we will have a vote on the EU.”

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