Friday, 6 October 2000

Danish Doublespeak

The Malta Independent

Danish Doublespeak

The Danish EU referendum went the way it was predicted. The Danes, in no small measure, `voted against the adoption of the Euro as their official currency but more symbolically voted against the absorption of small states` sovereignty` by the EU bureaucracy dominated by France and Germany.

Prior to the referendum the Danes were warned in no uncertain terms by their own political corpse (demonstratinga rare across the board agreement to lobby for a yes vote) and by the EU structures that this would be a once in a life-time decision. If they reject the Euro they would be rejecting it forever,` was the clear warning given by whoever wanted to force the Danes to accept the Euro.

Not more than a few hours after the referendum result was officially announced and the 53% rejection of the Euro became an embarrassing judgement for the Danish government and the EU Commission, we had unashamed Danish double-speak.

The choice was no longer once in a life-time decision.` It became a temporary decision until the Danish electorate could be persuaded to vote yes in a subsequent referendum which could be put together at some time in the `future.

These yes or no referenda are becoming something of a joke. If the result is in line with that wished by Brussels than it is definitive and irreversible. If on the other hand the referendum goes against the will of Brussels than they` can keep on trying until they get the result they want, at which point in time the decision then becomes irreversible.

Who knows what would happen if say a referendum were to be held anytime soon in the UK to decide whether to proceed with their EU membership` Yet in spite of clear sentiments of dissatisfaction with the way the unelected Brussels bureaucracy keeps affecting the lives of the citizens, no one seems to suggest a referendum to give political effect to people`s wishes. Re-try referendum is only invoked `when people decide matters against the wishes of the big countries of the EU.

Locally we have had a taste `of `this referendum double speak. The Foreign Minister has correctly pointed out on more than one occasion that if the Malta referendum on EU membership would go against the government wishes,` they would have no` hesitation in organising forces to re-propose the matter in a subsequent referendum until the `right` electoral decision is achieved.

However local political puritans were `shocked` when Labour made it clear than a newly elected Labour government with a political mandate endorsing an EU policy very different from that of the present nationalist administration,` would not consider itself bound by the referendum result once Malta would still not have joined the EU in full membership terms.

Why the nationalist have a right to overturn a referendum result just as the Danish government seems bent to do with the full blessing of the EU Commission, whereas such right ought `not be available to a democratically elected labour government indicates that there are amongst those who still think that labourites are children of a lesser god.

Alfred Mifsud

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