Med eller uden forbehold: Retsforbeholdets konsekvenser

Camilla Wendt

Student thesis: Master thesis


This master thesis is an investigation of the consequences and opportunities Denmark’s participation in the European Union can bring. The subject of interest is the Danish opt-out on EU justice and home affairs, and what the consequences will be if Denmark retains the opt-out, revokes it or changes it to an opt-in solution similar to the British model.
The debate regarding the subject reemerged along with the recent Danish referendum held in December 2015, which motivated me to investigate the matter further. The opt-out is a recurring discussion about Danish sovereignty and implications of national integration, since the ‘no’ to the Maastricht-treaty in 1992. The present development in the EU prevents Denmark from maintaining status quo in the co-operation, and the discussion is therefore once again highly relevant.
From a phenomenological perspective, the thesis is based on 4 qualitative interviews with experts on the subject, and different aspects of involvement. The data from the interviews is subsequently combined with a theoretical framework consisting in classical theory on international relations. The theories in question are the adaptation theory, the integration dilemma, and the security dilemma in alliance politics.
The analysis shows that the consequences of keeping the opt-out, could be an increased sensitivity to external stress and a loss of influence by excluding itself from power. It would indicate a reluctant will to cooperate and involve a lot of compromises, that could be a disadvantage for the Danes and their international business and activities. If Denmark continues on an intergovernmental level, the development in the EU towards supranational power, will leave the country abandoned by the community.
The opt-in option where Denmark would have the possibility to individually select the legal acts it finds attractive, inspires to a greater extent solidarity and commitment to the community. That could consequently cause more influence, but also increase the risk of being entrapped in the web that is the EU. To revoke the opt-out or change it to the more flexible model involves as in all EU matters the loss of sovereignty, but also binds you to the union-concept of mutual recognition of judicial decisions. Conclusively this principle can have consequences for the Danish rule of law, and thus for the constitutional rights of the Danes.

EducationsCand.ling.merc Erhvervssprog og International Erhvervskommunikation (Multikulturel Kommunikation i Organisationer), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages121
SupervisorsPoul F. Kjær