COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Danes will get a new chance to adopt the euro in a referendum, the prime minister said Thursday.
Denmark opted out of the European Union’s common currency as well as efforts to forge closer cooperation on defense policy and law enforcement in the early 1990s. Voters rejected the euro again in a 2000 referendum.
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, a staunch EU supporter, told a news conference that voters should reassess the exemptions in a referendum, saying “a lot has changed” since they were introduced in 1993.
“It is the right time to take a decision,” Fogh Rasmussen said. “We have always said that the Danish exemptions are a hindrance for Denmark.”
The euro entered circulation in 12 EU countries in 2002. At the time, Denmark, Britain and Sweden were the only EU members to stay outside.
After the bloc expanded in 2004, Slovenia has adopted the currency, while Cyprus and Malta will start using the euro on Jan 1, 2008.
No date was set for a vote, but it will be held during the next four years.
The referendum — or referendums — will be on whether to drop exemptions that have kept the Scandinavian nation outside various important areas of EU cooperation.
It was not immediately clear whether there would be a separate vote for each of the exemptions.
Fogh Rasmussen’s announcement came as a surprise. EU policies did not figure in the campaign leading up to the Nov. 13 election.
Analysts said the prime minister may have sensed that attitudes among skeptical Danes have shifted.