The Danish EU Opt Outs
Since 1993, Denmark has had four opt-outs covering defence policy, the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), Union citizenship, and Justice and Home Affairs (JHA). The opt-out for Union citizenship has no practical significance today, but in the three other areas the consequences now are considerably greater than they were in 2000. The Lisbon Treaty will further increase the significance of the Danish opt-outs, especially in relation to JHA.
In general, the areas affected by the Danish opt-outs have changed during the last 16 years in ways that were hardly foreseeable when they were formulated in 1992. These developments have been influenced by two closely linked sets of changes: First, extensive changes have occurred at the global, European and national levels; and second, a new agenda has emerged in the EU, with different political priorities.
The existence of the opt-outs is, broadly speaking, the most stable factor since 1992. Marked global, European and national changes have given the EU another position and role during the last 16 years. These changes have meant that today the opt-outs have completely different consequences for Denmark than could have been foreseen when they were formulated in 1992.
In November 2007, the Danish Parliament commissioned the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) to report on developments in the EU since 2000 in relation to the areas of the four Danish opt-outs. According to the terms of reference, the report included the developments that a new treaty (the Lisbon Treaty) leads to. It was published in July 2008.