This chapter on the national co-ordination of European Union (EU) policy in Denmark starts by pointing out that the Danish position within the EU is somewhat contradictory. On the one hand, Denmark has acquired the image of a ‘Eurosceptic’ having obtained several opt-outs from the Maastricht Treaty; on the other hand, its day-to-day performance in the EU is widely regarded as positive, since its rate and speed of implementation of EU legislative acts is one of the highest. This performance is partly due to Denmark’s EU co-ordination system, combined with its internal emphasis upon consensus. The Danish EU co-ordination system is centralized but also displays some decentralized features; in addition, compared with the normal domestic procedures for co-ordination, EU co-ordination in the country is very formalized, although it is also achieved informally through consensus. The four main sections of the chapter discuss: the centralization issue; the structure and procedures for EU policy co-ordination; sectorization (a decision-making process in which the decisive influence is located in an alliance between a sectoral ministry and important interest groups in an area); and the role of parliament and the European Committee.
Keywords: centralization, consensus, decentralization, Denmark, domestic policy, EU policy, Danish European Committee, European Union, formalization, institutional structures, national co-ordination, parliament, sectorization
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