A referendum in Denmark to join the UPC

Danes will vote in May 2014 on whether or not to join the EU’s Unified Patent Court.

 As Denmark has an opt-out from EU legislation on justice, more than 80% of MPs have to support Denmark joining the Unified Patent Court. If the government fails to gather such support it must call a referendum.

However, while the Danish centre-left government is in favour of joining the Unified Patent Court, the anti-EU parties in the parliament, the semi-communist Red-Green Alliance and the right-wing nationalist Danish People’s Party, have been blocking an agreement.

The Danish People’s Party (right-wing nationalist party) had demanded that the government either set up new rules for EU migrants in an attempt to avoid ‘benefits tourism’ or promise a referendum on the banking union, which Denmark, as a non-euro country, still has to decide on, in return for backing the Unified Patent Court.

In August, Danish opposition leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen told Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt to give the Danish People’s Party “whatever it takes” to get the party to support the patent court. However, on December 19th 2013 Danish Minister for EU Affairs Nick Hækkerup confirmed that a referendum would take place on 25 May 2014, the same day as the European Parliament elections in Denmark.