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Support for euro in free fall

Danes are increasingly wary of swapping the Danish krone for the euro. Over the past three months, support has plummeted from 51 percent to 42 percent.

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According to a new Gallup poll published in Berlingske Tidende, support for the euro in Denmark has not been lower since 2001.

The poll suggests that the population is divided into two equal groups – 42% in favour and 42% against. As late as November last year, 51% of the Danes were willing to replace their currency.

DPP: The government’s own fault
The Liberal-Conservative minority government’s euro-sceptical support party, the Danish People’s Party, hopes the new poll will make Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen drop his plans for a euro-referendum.

“Now that the worst turmoil in connection with the financial crisis has subsided more people can see that the krone is a highly stable project,” said DPP EU-spokesman Morten Messerschmidt. “It is a good idea to stay away from changing a country’s currency policy if it is only possible to find support in half of the population,” he added.

Messerschmidt believes the government is to blame for the population’s reaction because the prime minister and the rest of the government led a scare campaign, while the central bank Nationalbanken raised the interest rate in order to defend the krone.

At the time Fogh Rasmussen maintained that it would be expensive for the Danes to stay outside the Eurozone . Since then the interest rate gap has been reduced to one single percentage point.

Opposition: Wrong strategy
The opposition Socialist People’s Party also believes Fogh Rasmussen’s strategy has been a mistaken one. SPP Chairman Villy Søvndal says it was wrong of the prime minister to use the financial crisis as a stepping stone for a campaign to replace the krone with euro. “(To exchange the krone) is a long-term decision. It should not be made on the basis of an atypical situation such as the financial crisis,” Søvndal told politiken.dk.

The accusations were rejected by Liberal EU spokesman Michael Aastrup Jensen: “It is actually expensive , both in economic and political terms, to remain outside the euro. There is still an interest rate gap that can be felt, and once the Lisbon Treaty has been ratified the influence of the euro-group will be even greater,” he says.

Several EU experts, however, believe that Fogh Rasmussen has scored an own goal by linking a euro referendum to the financial crisis.

In a referendum on September 28, 2000, Danish voters rejected the euro with 53.9 percent against and 46.9 percent in favour.

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