SPIN: The Unity List no longer wants to leave Denmark out of NATO. The party also does not see the announcement of the EU as «a goal in itself».
Russia’s attack on Ukraine is once again reversing European foreign and security policy, including on the left.
Denmark’s largest radical left party, the Unity List, implemented at its national meeting in storing line breaks.
First, the party members in the Unity List, the sister party to Red in Norway, voted for a statement that the party will no longer fight to withdraw Denmark from the EU.
Subsequently, the party decided that it would no longer work for Danish withdrawal from NATO “here and now”, as long as there is no realistic security policy alternative.
Felt like «free game»
The Unity List’s former NATO opposition has created unrest and accusations of ambiguity in the face of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
At the national meeting, it was made clear that the Unity List “strongly condemns Russian imperialism and supports the Ukrainian people’s right to self-defense.”
The statement states that the party will work “for a strengthening of Nordic defense alliances and in the longer term a new security architecture as an alternative to NATO”. But “as long as such an alternative does not exist, it is not relevant for Denmark to opt out,” it says.
– I would think it was completely wrong if Denmark stepped out in a vacuum, said party spokesman Mai Villadsen to Danish TV 2 after the vote.
At the national meeting, party leader Pelle Dragsted said that the new statement was important to prevent the party from being “hunted wild” after Russia’s attack on Ukraine. He said it was “obvious to everyone that the Unity List has been a bit shaky, at least in the first weeks after the invasion”.
– There is no doubt that there has been uncertainty about what the Unity List thought about, for example, NATO, Dragsted said.
Will transform the defense
The party states that it “will work that NATO does not contribute to the effort and the arms race, but instead seeks dialogue and relaxation”.
At the same time, the members voted in favor of a new statement on the view of the Danish military.
The program of principles states that the party wants “the Danish military to be disbanded”. According to the new statement, the party must work “to transform the Danish defense into a national territorial defense, rather than an intervention force which is designed for warriors of attack and which can serve as a tool for great power interests”.
According to the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende, Dragsted said that this “expresses a recognition that a country must be able to enforce its sovereignty, and it requires that you have a defense”.
Create change from within
Together with other party leaders, such as Pernille Skipper and Nikolaj Villumsen, Dragsted supported the proposals for new NATO and EU policy. Skipper in particular has been a visible driver for a new EU line.
“The EU’s democratic deficit and skewed treaties should not stand in the way of us fighting and using the EU to also win victories, and talk of withdrawal is not relevant here and now,” Skipper tweeted when the statement she supported was voted through.
The Unity List now recognizes the EU as an “important political battleground” and admits that not only bad politics has come from the European Parliament in Brussels.
At the same time, party mayor Mai Villadsen tells Danish TV2 that the decision is a continuation of the line the party in practice has already taken. The party’s MP in the EU has “not only sat with his arms crossed”, she says, but tried to fight for progressive change within the EU system, according to Villadsen.
According to Information, it has been said from the rostrum at the national meeting that it is “capitalist naivety to believe that one can change the EU from within”.
Nevertheless, the change of line did not create a membership uprising, and both proposals were voted through by a three-thirds majority. The Danish commentator Noa Redington tells TV2 that the polls «confirm the movement and modernization the party has been through, from a left-wing protest party to a more streamlined center-left party».