Denmark has taken a decisive step toward ratification of the UPC agreement with the approval given in the referendum held on 25 May 2014. The referendum had become necessary due to the Danish People’s Party and the Red Greens having a sufficiently large minority in the Danish Parliament (the Folketing) to block the five sixths majority required to avoid a referendum. Nonetheless, the outcome was almost inevitable given that Danish constitutional rules provided for a default “yes” unless 50% of those voting voted “no” and this amounted to 30% of all those eligible to vote. In the vote, only just over 20% of those voting were against, although a huge 46% abstained or left their ballot paper blank. Hence, the vote was carried with just over 33% of those voting actually being in favour.
Despite the luke warm nature of the endorsement, Commissioner Barnier reacted by announcing that ”The approval … by Danish voters gives a very positive signal to all signatories and should encourage them to ratify without any further delay.” The statement issued in Brussels also contained a somewhat premature suggestion that Belgium has already ratified the UPC agreement. So far Austria, Malta and France have ratified, and only Austria and France have deposited their instruments of ratification.