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 Full text 
Wednesday, 28 November 2018 - Brussels Revised edition

17. Debate with the Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, on the Future of Europe (debate)
Video of the speeches

  Dennis de Jong, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group . – Mr President, a big welcome to the Danish Prime Minister. I must confess that I have a bit of a weak spot for Denmark, coming from the Netherlands myself. I am thinking not only of the landscape and the windmills – the old ones but especially also the new ones are a good example – but also the people’s character. Danes are pretty stubborn, you can’t tell the Danes what to do and in that they are very much like the Dutch. I mean, they have the same sort of character.

I must say that, when you started, Mr Prime Minister, the reactions like ‘the EU has too much power’ or also ‘it is not good for the ordinary citizen’ sound like what I am hearing in my country. At the same time we have the, now famous, 84% of the Danes saying that the EU has brought Denmark advantages. I really am a bit puzzled how you could bring these together. Is the Eurobarometer representative or is your public consultation representative? What is the real opinion in Denmark at the moment?

Now, the other particular aspect of Denmark is all its opt—outs. To go through them one-by-one, you have opted out of EU citizenship. I have asked my Danish colleagues what that means – nobody knew – but perhaps it is relevant in the context of Brexit. It would be nice to know if there is a difference between how the rest of Europe will deal with British citizens after Brexit and how Denmark will deal with them, or is this just not a problem?

Then, on justice and home affairs you have an opt—out. In 2015, the Danes confirmed that they didn’t want an opt—in, instead of an opt-out. Again, the question of organised crime doesn’t stop at the Danish border. Do you think you will have another referendum shortly on this issue, and what is the general opinion these days on that?

Then on the opt—out on defence. It has been mentioned by others, we had a meeting in Copenhagen, hosted by you, of the Liberal prime ministers in Europe. Apparently, the European army was discussed there because at least the Dutch Minister of the Interior said, ‘yes, in the long term we are in favour of a European army’. Is that true? Do you share that opinion or what was the outcome of that meeting, because there’s a lot of confusion about it.

You have no euro but are pegged to the euro. I can see that Denmark is not doing so badly at the moment. My question there, again, is there still discussion on the euro? Do you think this is a better solution than being part of the euro yourself and having the euro instead of the Danish crown?

Just one or two minutes on the single market. I think that we can safely say that the single market, as such, brings economic benefits, but the point is always: to whom? And if we look at the general situation, then I think workers, employees, are generally of the opinion that the single market works better for employers, for the factor of capital, than for the factor of labour and work.

I’m just curious how you see this. If you see the new single market programme of the Commission, the word ‘employee’ doesn’t occur anywhere. So no money for the workers, whereas we also see Commission proposals for mobility of companies. But where is the voice of the workers? If your company, where you have worked for many decades, suddenly goes to another Member State, does the worker have to right to say ‘no, we don’t want that’? Do we give a golden share to the workers for these type of decisions are so important for their daily lives?

Also, this morning we had the transport trade unions at our group and I saw a documentary on 200 Filipinos being exploited in Denmark because of the freedom of movement of services. It was completely legal, this works via subsidiaries in Poland which hired Filipinos who are now being used all over Europe, and especially in Denmark.

How can we counter that, and make these practices illegal? And how can we counter the fact that, for example, Ukrainians are now working in the Polish construction sector, while Poles are working in the construction sector elsewhere in Europe? That’s not right. So I call for there to be a single market for workers too, what are your views about that?

Last updated: 25 January 2019Legal notice