The London European Conference: Danes delay next move until after France votes

DENMARK'S foreign minister yesterday quashed reports that his government is preparing for a new referendum to reverse the damaging Danish vote in June against the Maastricht treaty.

Speaking a day after reports that the Danish government was preparing a question for a second referendum, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen said: 'I know this has been said. But nothing has changed at all. We shall wait to see what happens in France, and what happens in Britain. Then, in a slow way, we shall consider what to do next. Nothing is certain yet.'

Hopes of a new Danish initiative had risen on Sunday night after Poul Schlueter, the Danish prime minister, gave support in a television interview to the idea of a new Maastricht referendum in Denmark in the first half of 1993. Mr Schlueter had insisted that such a poll 'would have to be held on a new basis other than that of the Maastricht treaty itself'.

His remarks had been interpreted as a hint that the government was ready either to draft a new referendum question, or to suggest changes it would seek to be made to the treaty in an attempt to make it more acceptable to Danish citizens.

John Major gave comfort to the Danes yesterday by reiterating Britain's refusal to isolate Denmark because it has failed to ratify Maastricht. 'If Denmark and France, or any other member states, say no, then all must think again,' he said. 'There can be no question of leaving one member behind. Britain would not be party to such an agreement.'

Mr Ellemann-Jensen spoke just before delivering a spirited defence of the Nato alliance to yesterday's London conference.

But the glittering array of politicians, bureaucrats, economists and business leaders from all over the world spent little time trying to address the problems posed for the European Community by Denmark's rejection of the treaty.

Legally, the new European arrangements agreed at Maastricht last year cannot come into effect without each of the EC's 12 member states signing. Even the most radical options now being canvassed in Brussels cannot be carried out if the Danish government withholds its blessing.

Mr Ellemann-Jensen's comments show that despite its earlier worries, the Danish government now appears ready to wait calmly to see whether the treaty is ratified in France, Britain, Germany and other member states before it feels any pressure to clarify its position.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

£15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

£11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

£15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most