National suverænitet i et stadigt mere integreret EU? En analyse af det danske demokratis indflydelse på VK-regeringens tilgang til EU-Domstolen – set i lyset af Metock-dommen

Anne Solander Frederiksen

Student thesis: Master thesis


When the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on 25 July 2008 presented its conclusion in the preliminary ruling Metock, it extended residence rights to third country nationals married to EU citizens and thus created EU integration. The Metock ruling started a heavy debate in Denmark – not least among politicians. The Danish liberal-conservative government reacted strongly to the Metock ruling and the ECJ in particular and thus criticized the ECJ’s role in the EU integration process. In this thesis I analyze the motivations for the Danish liberal-conservative government’s – the socalled VK government’s – critical stance towards the ECJ after the Metock ruling. More specifically, I analyze which democratic traditions, principles and norms in the Danish political system the VK government acted according to in relation to the ECJ’s Metock ruling. I presuppose that the VK government’s actions stem from the protection of Danish sovereignty in immigration policy and thus in the interest in sustaining this sovereignty. With this thesis I thus focus on the Danish conception of democracy and how it influences Denmark’s overall approach to integration through law. Next I focus on which democratic factors influence Danish EU membership in general. Then I analyze the EU treaties’ development and what impact these treaty revisions have had on the Danish opt out in supranational policy areas in Justice and Home Affairs. Lastly I analyze how the Metock ruling affected the VK government’s immigration policy and Danish sovereignty in this policy area in general. In my analysis I have a combined theoretical approach consisting of theories on democracy as well as classical European integration theories in the form of Stanley Hoffmann’s intergovernmentalism as well as Ernst B. Hass’ neo-functionalism and the new approach to EU-studies, multi-level governance. I also make use of Björn Molin’s model for the stance that political parties take in relation to certain policy areas. On the basis of these theories and Molin’s model I have composed a general model for analyzing a governments’ space for political action in relation to specific policy areas on a domestic level as well as on the EU level. I conclude that the VK government acted according to Denmark’s majoritarian democracy and thus the Danish tradition for parliamentary sovereignty, the principle of parliamentarism and the Danish norm for negative parliamentarism and hence minority governments. The Ministry of Justice’s interpretation of paragraph 20 in the Danish constitution regarding sovereignty also played a role. These factors influence how all Danish governments can act according to certain things that happen in the EU. Hence, in relation to the ECJ’s Metock ruling, the minority VK government acted according to strategical political alliances with their supporting party Danish People’s Party as well as taking account of Danish voters and the overall public opinion in Denmark. The VK government’s approach to the Metock ruling was therefore founded in the protection of Danish immigration policy as well as sustaining this sovereignty which Denmark has had since the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty with the Edinburgh Agreement in 1993. On the basis of my analysis I thus conclude that Danish sovereignty in immigration policy is more formal than real, as the Danish opt out of the EU’s supranational Justice and Home Affairs – more specifically immigration policy – does not guarantee Danish sovereignty in areas concerning immigration policy. Danish sovereignty is therefore limited on the grounds of EU citizens’ rights and the protection of their right to free movement and residence within the EU. This thesis thus illustrates the domestic constraints the VK government had to act according to on a national level as well as on an EU level.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages101