Denmark 'no' group rallies as rivals split

THE campaign against the Maastricht treaty in Denmark sought to regain the initiative yesterday, as polls registered rising support for the treaty but the 'yes' camp showed signs of splitting.

Seizing on a letter from a senior EC lawyer, which backs their contention that the second referendum is being held on false pretences, the 'no' group asked the government to obtain a fresh legal judgment from the European Commission in Brussels. A leaked letter from Donald Allen, one of the Commission's principal legal advisers, was published in the Independent on Sunday. It backed a report by three British 'Eurosceptic' lawyers that said the 'opt-outs' won by Denmark at last year's Edinburgh summit were worthless.

'Edinburgh has bought us nothing new,' said Kai Lemberg, a leading 'no' campaigner yesterday. This has long been the contention of the 'no' camp. Jens Peter Bonde, an MEP and another leading anti-Maastricht campaigner, says the package of decisions and declarations had no real content.

Mr Allen, in a statement on Sunday, said he did not dispute the validity of the Edinburgh deal. 'I fully concur with the Commission's view . . . that the Edinburgh agreements are fully binding under international law,' he said. The 'no' campaign says the real point is that the agreements have no effect on the treaty.

The 'no' camp also capitalised on a statement from Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, the former foreign minister, that the country should be part of any future European defence arrangements, despite its exemption. This brought him a rebuke from Neils Holveg Petersen, the country's Foreign Minister, who opposes military involvement. 'The yes-parties had previously been in agreement as to which line was best, and that is how we are going to continue,' he said.

But Mr Petersen presided at a meeting of EC foreign ministers only days ago at which military action in Bosnia was on the agenda. The 'no' camp said it wanted a clarification from the government of its position.

Danish analysts have long expected fissures to appear among the 'yes' campaigners, and there have been signs of friction over tactics. Referring to the deal struck last year, which tied the 'yes' camp together, Mr Lemberg said: 'This weekend, the national compromise broke down.'

All of this may not be in time to save the 'no' campaign. The latest opinion poll, published in the national daily Berlingske Tidende, shows support for the treaty has reached 51 per cent of those who will vote, reversing a decline. The 'no' vote has also increased, but only to 30 per cent. The undecideds have fallen to 19 per cent.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders