A reluctant partner : the pattern of Denmark's involvement in the European Community
Denmark joined the European Community (EC) on 1 January 1973 together with the United Kingdom and Ireland. Its relationship with the EC has since then been uneasy, culminating with the popular vote against the Maastricht Treaty in June 1992 which threatened for a moment to halt the European integration process. Although Denmark's uneasy relationship with the Community has been noted by external observers, the reasons behind its reluctance towards European integration are not widely understood. The aim of this thesis is to explain the pattern of Denmark's involvement in the EC during three crucial periods in the evolution of the Community by analysing Denmark's adaptation to EC membership and response to the developments in the process of European integration. The thesis's theoretical framework combines the concept of acquis communautaire with the four basic elements of the theory of International Regimes - principles, norms, rules and decision-making procedures. These four basic elements are used to analyse Denmark's compliance with the rights and obligations of EC membership defined as the 'regime contract'. The concept of an integration dilemma serves to help to examine Denmark's attempts at balancing through a set of strategies, the external and internal pressures stemming from the process of integration. The empirical part of the thesis focuses on three episodes in Denmark's EC membership: the accession to the EC, the relaunch of the Community leading to the signing of the Single European Act and the negotiations and ratification of the Maastricht Treaty. The main conclusion of the thesis is that Denmark has been a reluctant partner in the European integration process mainly because of its difficulties to embrace the principles of the 'Community regime'. This reluctance towards the principles of European integration has conditioned Denmark's pattern of involvement in the EC and influenced its behaviour as a member of the EC.