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U.K. Must ‘Walk Path Alone’ on EU Vote, Denmark Says

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Denmark won’t follow the U.K. in holding a referendum on European Union membership as the Nordic country depends on regional cooperation to achieve its political goals, two Danish cabinet ministers said.

“If Great Britain should decide to scale down its membership or leave the EU, the U.K. must walk this path alone,” European Affairs Minister Nicolai Wammen said today in a phone interview. “Denmark hopes that the U.K. will remain a strong member of the EU.”

Prime Minister David Cameron today pledged a referendum by the end of 2017 on whether his country should leave the EU, allowing U.K. voters to decide on breaking up the 27-nation bloc. Denmark has since it joined the EU in 1973 held five referenda on whether to expand its membership of the bloc, with the most recent -- a 2000 vote on joining the euro -- leading to a rejection.

“Denmark doesn’t share the British wish to have a vote on Europe,” Deputy Prime Minister Margrethe Vestager said by phone. “In our experience it’s impossible to pursue Danish interests without being close to the core of Europe. You don’t have influence or produce results if you’re standing on the sideline.”

A poll published last month by Danske Bank A/S showed that Danish voters regard the euro with more skepticism than at any time since the single currency’s introduction in 1999. Almost 70 percent of Danes wanted to keep the krone, according to the poll, which was conducted by Statistics Denmark.

The 2000 referendum ended with 53 percent of voters rejecting the euro after the government, a majority of lawmakers in parliament and the country’s central bank had encouraged Danes to adopt the European currency.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Levring in Copenhagen at plevring1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonas Bergman at jbergman@bloomberg.net

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