BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Denmark will seek a compromise with the European Union to allow for some cooperation with cross-border police agency Europol, its prime minister said on Friday, after Danes effectively rejected a more binding deal in a referendum.
Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said Copenhagen was seeking what is known in EU jargon as a “parallel deal” next year that would allow it to maintain some cooperation with Europol.
Speaking to Danish reporters in Brussels after talks with European Council president Donald Tusk, he made clear any new arrangements would fall short of what would have been achieved if Danes had voted yes in the referendum.
“The message for me here today was that a parallel deal cannot be a parallel deal that gives full and complete Danish participation in Europol as we know it today,” he said.
Together with Britain and Ireland, Danes have long enjoyed several exemptions from EU laws dating from the 1990s when the modern foundation of the 28-member bloc was laid.
Nevertheless most mainstream politicians advised the Scandinavian country to adopt some more EU laws to help fight cross-border crime due to changes to how Europol is run, including how it collects and analyses data.
In a blow to the EU, however, just over 50 percent of voters rejected the proposals last Thursday.
“Now we must find out what a parallel deal is. The message for me today is that it looks difficult legally but that there is a will to spend the months before legal documents are finally submitted to figure out what possibilities there are,” Rasmussen said.
“A condition to getting that work started is that Denmark shows its cards, meaning that I gather the parties in the Danish parliament and get a confirmation that we agree on this,” he said, referring to a Danish consensus on seeking a parallel agreement.
Reporting by Teis Jensen; writing by Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by Ruth Pitchford