Yesterday, 53 percent of Danish voters refused to trade in their krone for the fledgling European common currency, the euro. While the "no" vote was expected, the proposal to switch to the euro was defeated by a larger margin than forecast. European leaders immediately tried to play down the referendum defeat and insisted it would not affect the already shaky euro, which has declined by more than 25 percent in value since it was introduced in January 1999. Pundits are less sanguine, and speculation has already begun on how the Danish vote will affect opinion in Sweden and the UK, both of which plan to hold referendums on joining the common currency at some point in the indefinite future. Rather than sentimental attachment to the national currency, the "no" vote has been interpreted as resistance to any further erosion in national sovereignty. Voters feared that ceding more powers to EU headquarters could threaten domestic programs, not least Denmark's extensive welfare state. The question of national sovereignty versus a "United States of Europe" remains an extremely thorny issue for European leaders, and one that seems to have no clear resolution in the forseeable future.


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