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Friday, 29 September, 2000, 17:21 GMT 18:21 UK
Europe plays down Danish 'no' vote
No campaigners send a message to EU leaders
"No" campaigners celebrate their victory
Denmark's European Union partners have been playing down the impact of the Danish people's rejection of the European single currency.

On Friday, European finance ministers meeting in Brussels put a brave face on the vote against the euro.

The European Economic Commissioner, Pedro Solbes, has said the Danes' decision was "not a great disappointment" and would not hamper the currency system.

Some 53% of Danes voted in Thursday's referendum to keep the krone - a bigger victory for the "no" camp than anticipated.

The euro has remained steady on the financial markets.

A BBC correspondent in Brussels says this may be due to the prospect of further intervention by central banks to prop up the currency, as they did last week.

'Danes to suffer'

The governor of the European Central Bank, Wim Duisenberg, said only Denmark would be hurt by the "no" vote.

Poul Nyrup Rasmussen
The prime minister warned that Denmark might now be sidelined
"The Danish people have chosen to deprive themselves of benefits in the form of an increase in the rate of growth and the welfare of the economy that would have otherwise taken place and that is already taking place within the euro area," Mr Duisenberg said.

Correspondents say the vote could bring closer the realisation of a "two-speed Europe", in which a core of EU members forge closer political and economic ties than others.

Berlin and Paris are believed to be in favour of a "two-speed Europe" but French Finance Minister Laurent Fabius and his German counterpart, Hans Eichel, said the vote would have no consequences for the euro.

UK and Sweden

Debate about the consequences of Denmark's choice is focusing in particular on the UK and Sweden, two countries also planning to hold referendums on the currency in the future.

I shall not try to hide the fact that I am disappointed with the result

Danish Prime Minister, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen
UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said the Danish decision would not prevent a referendum being held in Britain.

But Shadow chancellor Michael Portillo, of the opposition Conservative Party, said there was now less reason for British people to fear isolation if they stayed out of the European single currency.

Swedish Prime Minister, Goran Persson, said the result of the referendum would influence domestic debate in Sweden.

'Worst day'

In Denmark, as jubilant "no" campaigners celebrated victory, the Danish Prime Minister, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, described the result as a "defeat" for him and his party and warned that Denmark now risked being sidelined within Europe.

NO supporters
Erosion of sovereignty
Increase European bureaucracy
Welfare cutbacks
Ministers said they were ready to support the krone against speculative attack.

Danish Finance Minister Marianne Jelved described her country's rejection of the euro as "the worst day of my political life".

"I fully respect the decision of the people, but I am very sad about it," she said.

The single currency has been adopted by 11 countries in the European Union - but Denmark is the first to allow a popular vote on the issue.

Vote against integration

YES supporters
Euro will protect economy
It will remove currency swings
It will boost Denmark's influence in EU
The head of the right-wing People's Party, Pia Kjaersgaard, one of the leaders of the "no" campaign, said the vote was a message to Europe's leaders that, in her words, enough was enough.

"It was a very good signal to the political correctness in Denmark to slow down the political integration in Europe, and say that we still want the individual states," she said.

"I'm quite sure that democracy has won."

The BBC's Jon Pienaar
"The EU Commission say this will make no difference outside Denmark"
The BBC's Angus Roxburgh in Copenhagen
"A reminder of just how easy it is for politicians to lose touch"
See also:

29 Sep 00 | Business
Euro stable after Danish 'no'
29 Sep 00 | Business
Q&A: What now for the euro?
29 Sep 00 | UK Politics
Danish vote sparks euro row
29 Sep 00 | Europe
European press review
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