A referendum in Denmark shows a clear majority for the abolition of the so-called EU defense reservation. Forecasts by the broadcasters DR and TV2 initially saw the yes camp after the polling stations closed on Wednesday evening with 69.1 and 66.6 percent of the votes respectively, the opposite side with 30.9 and 33.4 percent respectively.

If the majority votes yes, Denmark could in future take part in European security and defense cooperation – for example in military EU missions. A preliminary result was expected in the late evening hours.

Denmark is the only EU country with such a defense reservation. The special regulation means that the country can take part in civilian but not in EU military missions or in the joint development of weapons systems, for example. Against the background of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine and the resulting change in the security situation in Europe, almost 4.3 million Danes were called on Wednesday to vote on the reservation.

A majority yes would mean that the defense reservation would be abolished. That would give the Danish parliament the opportunity to vote, for example, to participate in EU-led military operations. If the No camp wins, everything stays the same.

The majority of Danish parties, including Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s ruling Social Democrats, have called for the proviso to be abolished. It would be the first time that Denmark got rid of such a special regulation by referendum. In 2000, the people voted against the euro and in 2015 also against EU judicial cooperation.