The Danish opt-outs from EU cooperation

Denmark has four opt-outs from the EU cooperation in 1993. Since then, two referenda on the opt-outs have been held.


Denmark has four derogations or “opt-outs” from EU cooperation. The Danish opt-outs stem from 1993 and were agreed amongst the then 12 Member States after the Danish population initially rejected the Maastricht Treaty in a referendum in 1992. 

The opt-outs are outlined in the Edinburgh Agreement and concern the Monetary Union (EMU), Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) and the Citizenship of the European Union.

The four opt-outs are as follows: 

  • The Euro-opt out: Concerned whether Denmark should change its currency from the Danish kroner to Euro along with the majority of other EU states. Danes voted not to adopt the Euro. The rate of the Danish Kroner is determined by the National Bank in Denmark. Denmark does not participate in the Euro-countries economy decisions. However, Denmark does participate in some of the Euro cooperation. 
  • Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP): Due to the Danish defence opt-out, Denmark cannot participate in EU military operations or in the cooperation on development and acquisition of military capabilities within the EU framework. Additionally, Denmark will not provide military support or supplies for EU-led efforts in conflict areas, nor participate in any decision or planning regarding operations. 
  • Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) concerned laws that are regulated by the EU. Legal reservations mean that Denmark will not have to abide by EU laws concerning divorce between citizens from two countries, bankruptcy, asylum standards, and legal standards that set minimum rules in civil cases. Denmark is exempt from all supranational legal policy and participates only in the field of judiciary when rules are adopted by the government. 
  • Citizenship in EU is the least relevant of the four opt-outs. Denmark voted against giving up Danish citizenship for a purely EU citizenship. Instead, the EU citizenship is an addition to an individual’s state citizenship. The opt-out on citizenship has become redundant after the adoption of the Amsterdam Treaty (1997) which clarified that EU citizenship is only supplementary, effectively nullifying Denmark’s opt-out.

Denmark has held two referenda on the opt-outs. In 2000, the Danes had a vote on whether Denmark should participate in the common currency of Europe, the Euro. A majority of Danes voted “no.” As a result, Denmark is not part of the Euro group and has kept its currency the kroner. 

In December 2015, the Danes held a referendum on the opt-out concerning Justice and Home Affairs. The vote was to determine if Denmark would maintain the reservations they held in the original opt-out or replace it with an opt-in model. Denmark voted not to modify the original opt-out.