Britain faced further isolation within the European Union yesterday after Denmark announced that it was giving its citizens the chance to vote in a referendum on its relationship with Europe.But the second paragraph, which at first appears merely to repeate the first, reveals that there isn't really a story at all.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the country’s recently re-elected Prime Minister, announced plans to give Danes a say in joining the euro and ending Denmark’s opt-outs from Brussels.So Denmark might opt in to the Euro after all and, like Britain, would hold a referendum before doing so.
The hacks were so desperate to make a story that they painted a lack of interest from the government and the tories as showing that the Danish move caused them difficulties:
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office would say only that it was “a matter for the Danes” while the Tories gave a notably defensive response.
Mark Francois, the shadow Europe minister, said: “We believe in a flexible Europe where each country can find the level of integration with which it feels comfortable. If the Danish Government wish to discard some of their opt-outs that is a matter for Danish people and Parliament to decide.”Quite a sensible and sophisticated response but insufficiently knee-jerk, so the hack scraped the bottom of the barrel.
It was left to Eurosceptic Tory backbenchers to draw the comparison between the Danish leader’s decision and that of Gordon Brown. Philip Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, said: “It’s good to see that at least one incoming leader has the courage to put his country’s relation with the EU to the people. It’s a shame our own Prime Minister is refusing to honour the promise he made to do the same.”